Cape Town - The government has spent R60m on killing 50 000 ostriches in a bid to stop the spread of avian flu, but the virus is still present, it was reported on Thursday.
The Western Cape agriculture department said it was time to admit the policy of blanket killing of entire flocks was not working and to look at other methods, the Cape Times reported.
Agricultural MEC Gerrit van Rensburg said the focus was no longer on getting the export industry reopened but on the survivial of the entire South African ostrich industry.
He said killing of the ostriches would be futile as the virus could still be present in the wild bird population.
He wrote to national Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Petterson on Wednesday to urge a "quick response" to the crisis.
According to the report the export ban, in place for the last 18 months, has cost the industry more than R1bn.
More than 40% of the producers have left the industry. The size of the national ostrich flock has decreased from a million birds to 250 000.
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