On his visit to Kenya this week, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney might have exchanged ideas on tricky livestock movements across land borders with his counterparts in the region.

Kenya and its neighbour Tanzania, usually on peaceful terms, have become embroiled in a diplomatic incident involving thousands of head of cattle and poultry.

Chicks incinerated

Tanzania has seized and auctioned off more than 1,300 cattle belonging to Kenyan pastoralists after they moved across the border. Local media reported Tanzanian president John Magufuli's comments that his country was not grazing land for Kenyan cows.

A few days earlier, Tanzanian officials had incinerated 6,400 chicks imported from Kenya over fears that they may transmit bird flu.

The row, dubbed a "cow war" by the region's press, has escalated into trade sanctions engulfing grain and milk exports. Agri-food companies have complained about the barriers disrupting their business as a result of the political spat. Trade usually flows freely between the two countries, which are part of the East African Community customs union.

Sounds familiar?

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