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Botswana: Government Suspends FMD Cattle Killings

13 June 2008

BOTSWANA - Coordinator of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in Okavango, Dr Moetapele Letshwenyo says that they have suspended their activities in the area until next month or August.

In a telephone interview yesterday, he said that 259,123 cattle were vaccinated in April and 18,175 in May. He revealed that an additional 3,359 cattle were vaccinated from June 2 to Monday this week. "This figure far exceeds that of 230,000 that we had anticipated to find in the area," he said.

Letshwenyo said that only 92 cattle were shot and killed because the owners did not show up and the animals were very wild. Out of the number, 12 carcasses were given to the owners after they were checked for dangerous diseases, he said. He refuted allegations by some members of the public that the veterinary officers just shot and killed any animal they came across. He explained that in many instances, they had to hire casual labourers to help them collect the cattle for vaccination around places such as the old Thamakalane River.

He stressed that shooting cattle is the last resort after the owners fail to show up. In the second round of vaccination planned for July or August, Letshwenyo said that the cattle found to have missed the first round will be vaccinated. He explained that it is important to vaccinate the FMD cattle twice to boost their immunity. He was satisfied that they had enough manpower on the ground to control the disease. He added that the ban on movement of cattle and cattle by-products would remain in place until they are sure that the disease is under control.

Letshwenyo who is based at the head office in Gaborone is now in Okavango to attend to the FMD problem. He said he would stay in the area until the situation is brought under control.

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Source: AllAfrica.com


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