Govt to shoot FMD cattle

Source: Govt to shoot FMD cattle – Sunday News Oct 23, 2016

Dumisani Nsingo, Farming Reporter
THE Government will continue to destroy all livestock especially cattle that will have been moved from foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) quarantined areas into unaffected destinations as it bids to control the spread of the viral infection.

Speaking after touring Nkayi and Hwange districts in Matabeleland North Province last week, Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Deputy Minister responsible for livestock Cde Paddy Zhanda said the country continues to lose millions of dollars in its battle to control FMD and as such the Government would resort to using “sterner measures” to avert the movement of cattle from red zones (affected areas) to free zones (unaffected areas).

After addressing villagers in Nkayi on Wednesday, on his way to Hwange, Deputy Minister Zhanda instructed the district veterinary officers to liaise with the police and destroy three heifers that were moved by a local businessman from a quarantined area. The beasts were later put down on Thursday. The shooting of the cattle in Nkayi comes after a Masvingo farmer lost a head of 80 valued at about $50 000. The farmer had allegedly moved 20 heifers from FMD hit Mwenezi District to his farm which had 60 cattle.

“It’s (killing) legal, the statute provides for that, where we find people moving animals from where there is a disease to free zones, definitely we will not tolerate that and we will destroy those animals in order to control the FMD,” said Deputy Minister Zhanda.

Asked how the Government would deal with the impasse in Hwange District where police officers are allegedly conniving with some businesspeople and facilitating the movement of cattle from red zones for slaughter in green zones, Deputy Minister Zhanda said:

“I think there were a bit of personalities involved but the law is very clear that the Veterinary Services issues a permit to allow movement of cattle from one point to another after the cattle had been certified and examined and everything is considered to be in the best interest of the affected parties. The police are there to clear the ownership aspects of the animal but not to authorise the movement, what authorises the movement is a veterinary permit”.

He also said the Department of Veterinary Services should be the one to determine where animals are slaughtered.

“Generally I think there were some challenges and I am happy that I managed to go to Nkayi and Hwange and particularly in Nkayi, it’s the issue of FMD outbreak and the spread of it. It’s quite a big challenge and it really resonates with our thinking as a Department (of Veterinary Services) and Government that the idea of centralisation of feed-lotting and the slaughtering of animals is highly critical and important.

“What we have also concluded is that the outbreak is a result of illegal movement of cattle from red zones to clean zones and we have not, as a Department been implementing what is provided for in the statutes in the letter spirit of it and as a result people just got carried away, that they would get away with it. It’s a huge cost to the country and a huge inconvenience to individual farmers,” said Deputy Minister Zhanda.