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COVID-19 - How to cope

We assume that you are well aware of the measures regarding the corona virus and associated disease covid-19. We have translated these measures into the practice of farms, saleyards, traders, transporters and slaughterhouses. This shows that the following matters are important:

  • Extra attention to hygiene, washing your hands more often (and do not touch your face)
  • Those who have lost their sense of smell and taste, or who have to sneeze or cough, have to stay at home (self-isolation). Anyone who has a fever should get tested. Note: this can lead to colleagues who have had contact also having to isolate themselves, effectively shutting down the workplace!
  • Therefore, make sure that the people in your company are more than 2 meters apart at all times. Consult by telephone where necessary. Did you know that you can make video calls with whatsapp with eight people at the same time? With Skype you can also meet for free video and share the screen of one of the participants.
  • Prevent people from passing the virus on through notes, shared keyboards, or other means. Use the Litams app, so that everyone can keep track of the animal data from their own phone.
  • Make sure you don't have too much money outstanding with your customers. One company that gets into trouble pulls another one along. Behind a restaurant owner is a chain of landlords and suppliers who each have their own financial obligations. You may get hit too.

I may be infected. Can I handle livestock?

International scientist agree that tere are no indications that farm animals, such as cows, pigs, chickens, sheep and goats, can be infected with the new corona virus. As a precaution, it is recommended that people with COVID-19 or with complaints that fit COVID-19 leave the care of their animals to others without complaints and avoid contact with the animals. This also means that you do not come into the stable.

If there is no other option, veterinarians, livestock farmers and employees who have mild complaints (nose colds, sore throat, sneezing, coughing and increase to 38C, but no fever) and working in the food-producing sector may take care of the animals. Also in the care of and contact with animals it is important to follow the general hygiene measures such as washing your hands regularly and coughing and sneezing in the elbow.

What does Covid-19 mean for my company?

Covid-19 makes clear why traceability is important. Germany has considerably fewer deaths than the Netherlands. More people are tested in Germany than in the Netherlands. If you are positive, it is immediately checked with whom you have had recent contact. The situation in France, Spain and Italy is much worse, with the result that the government had to declare a total lockdown. In this respect, this corona crisis once again underlines the importance of I&R, so that we can prevent a total lockdown in livestock if an infectious disease breaks out. After all, if you know which other animals the infected animals have come into contact with, you can contain the infection quite precisely. This is evident from the approach to the corona crisis in the various countries.

The corona virus also has several possible consequences for livestock farming:

  • Transport of live animals - as borders close in Europe, the duration of international transport increases. Therefore, there are already voices to ban the transport of live animals, because the travel time would be too long.
  • Closing livestock markets - Australia has already closed the livestock markets and this can also happen elsewhere. 
  • Slaughterhouses and dairies - stay clean! And we mean especially the staff. If one employee becomes infected, you will have to keep all employees in quarantine, which means that you can close the slaughterhouse or milk factory for several weeks. So take extra measures to protect your employees against covid-19, both during and outside working hours. Abattoirs all over the world have had to close for this reason.
  • Prices - In New Zealand, butchers are qualified as “not essential” and have had to close their doors. It is not yet that far elsewhere. But worldwide, almost all restaurants are closed. Demand for meat has declined as a result, putting pressure on prices.
  • Recreation - anyone who has recreational functions on the farm such as camping, farmers golf and the like will have to do without this income. For some farmers, this is an important source of income that is lost.

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