Zimbabwe: 12 Cattle Destroyed Over Foot and Mouth

Senior Agriculture Reporter

The Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) last Friday slaughtered and burnt 12 cattle at Arda Sanyati after the animals were illegally moved from a Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) red zone area.

The destruction was meant to curb the spread of the FMD and the department was authorised to bury or burn the livestock which was moved without a permit.

Owners of the cattle will not receive any compensation.

The aim is to maintain an FMD-free status in provinces, which have potential to resume exports. DVS director for Veterinary Field Services, Dr Jairus Machakwa confirmed the incident.

Dr Machakwa said if farmers and traders illegally move animals, that is, moving cattle, pigs, goats, sheep and wildlife without permits from the DVS, the animals will be destroyed and the owners prosecuted, fined or jailed.

He said around September 2021, Mr Simukai Zvandasara, of Mavimbi dip tank, Chireya area, Gokwe North moved 16 head of cattle from Gokwe North without a movement permit.

The cattle were moved to an area called Mabhangara in Sanyati district.

“On February 28 2022, Mr Zvandasara was arrested by ZRP Sanyati moving 12 head of cattle from Mabhangara area, Sanyati district and returning them to Mavimbi dip tank, Gokwe North fearing that his cattle would be destroyed by veterinary department.

“Mr Zvandasara contravened the provisions of Animal Health (Movement of Cattle and Pigs) Regulations, 1984.

“Gokwe North district is Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) red zone area and currently under quarantine for FMD. The illegal movement posed risk of spread of FMD to free areas,” he said.

Dr Machakwa ordered that the cattle be destroyed and carcasses be disposed safely.

The destruction was witnessed by Police details.

“Currently we do not have an FMD outbreak, and the DVS is on high alert to detect and control any FMD outbreaks should they occur.

“People should desist from moving cattle illegally. Illegal animal movements are the single most important driver of transmission of animal diseases from one area to the next, so the most dreaded being FMD and January Disease,” said Dr Machakwa.

The country is buying FMD vaccines to curb the spread of the disease which could be achieved by animal movement control.

“Zimbabwe does not produce the FMD vaccines and spend lots of foreign currency to control FMD through routine annual vaccinations.

“If farmers and traders comply with animal movement regulations, Zimbabwe is able to maintain a stable animal health situation where we do not have FMD outbreaks,” he advised.

According to the DVs, farmers who move tick infested cattle are liable for prosecution, and so farmers must dip their cattle prior to movement to avoid the long arm of the law.

“We are working with the Police at roadblocks throughout the country to ensure that all cattle moving to farms and markets have the necessary veterinary permits, and are tick free, as is required by the law,” he said.

FMD is the most contagious disease known to cattle. It is caused by a virus.

FMD is an internationally listed or notifiable disease and it affects the economies of countries depending on cattle and pig industry.

Symptoms of FMD include excessive salivation, limping, presence of sores in the mouth and in between the toes. Countries experiencing FMD suffer from trade embargoes limiting exports of even non-livestock products from affected areas.

Stakeholders in the livestock industry are strongly advised to comply with veterinary restrictions if the cattle economy is to revive successfully.

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