Chicken manure prohibited for livestock feed

By Business Reporter

THE Meat Board of Namibia (MBN) has informed the farming community, farmers’ unions/associations, animal feed processors and retailers as well as all other meat industry role players that the use of chicken litter/manure as livestock feed is not allowed under the Farm Assured Namibian Meat (FAN Meat) Scheme.

This is in accordance with provisions of the Fertilisers, Farm Feeds, Agricultural Remedies and Stock Remedies Act (Act 36 of 1947).

According to Manager: Trade of the Meat Board of Namibia, Goliath Tujendapi, currently there is no by-law prohibiting the use of chicken litter as livestock feed, “this is why we are handling it under the FAN Meat Scheme and cautioning producers to refrain from administering the material”.

“Additionally, on 10 July 2019, we held a meeting with the Livestock Marketing Committee at which we advised the Directorate of Veterinary Services under the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry to include the regulation or prohibition of chicken litter/manure. The Meat Board of Namibia is aware of the challenges farmers are facing as a result of the reoccurring drought, however, amid challenges the regulations and standards of our trading partners should be protected at all times,” says Tujendapi.

“The Minister of Finance, Hon. Calle Schlettwein, has exempted tax on the importation of most fodder products, thus producers can use this opportunity to import the bulk of the approved products to assist themselves in these challenging times,” Tujendapi adds.

Furthermore, Section 8.2 of the FAN Meat Standards for producers states that “NO feed containing ingredients obtained from ruminants (carcass meal, blood meal, bone meal or any other bone product, including hoofs and horns, meat meal or meat) and chicken litter/manure may be acquired, disposed of, sold or fed to ruminants”.

The prohibition on the feeding of chicken litter/manure to livestock is necessary to guarantee the safety of Namibian meat as well as ensuring that the country can continue to demonstrate ongoing freedom from Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) (Mad Cow Disease).

“Chicken litter refers to the faeces of chicken but is most often mixed with feathers, some soil and carcasses of dead birds. The cardinal problems with chicken litter are the residues of antibiotics, such as cocidiostats (veterinary medicine), used to keep the chicken healthy but remain active in the faeces and are absorbed by cattle resulting in hazardous levels in meat and milk consumed by humans. The second reason is its association with botulism (fatal illness), especially when animals eating the litter are not vaccinated,” Meatco’s Senior Manager: Quality Assurance, Health and Safety, Dr Adrianatus Maseke, reiterates.

In other words, feeding livestock on chicken litter is unsanitary and can lead to the spread of diseases as well as unwanted antibiotic residues in meat.

The European Union (EU), which is Namibia’s most important meat trading partner, adopted Regulation (EC) 1774/2002 that categories litter as a category 2 material, which may not be fed to food-producing animals. As a trading partner of the EU concerning livestock products, Regulation (EC) 1774/2002 is also applicable to Namibia.

The farming community, farmers’ unions/associations, animal feed processors, retailers and all other meat industry role players are hereby notified that chicken litter is not registered as a farm feed in Namibia.  Registration of chicken litter as farm feed is not in the best interest of the livestock and meat industry. Consequently, the MBN urges all the meat industry role players to take note and comply with the standards accordingly.