Vet department destroys 10 cattle
The Department of Veterinary Services this weekend destroyed 10 cattle that were illegally moved from a farm in Banket to Chinhoyi, as part of efforts to fight the spread of January disease, also known as Theileriosis.
The movement of the beasts to Chinhoyi was in contravention of the Animal Health Act, which mandates that farmers and livestock dealers need veterinary clearance to move livestock.
The Act empowers the Veterinary department to order the destruction of illegally moved animals and the safe disposal of the carcasses.
Department of Veterinary Services director Dr Jairus Machakwa yesterday said the district veterinary teams had swiftly intervened to put down the animals as there were indications that the cattle were infected with January disease.
The cattle only had police clearance, but had no veterinary movement permit.
“For any livestock to be moved, we need a veterinary movement permit which proves that the animals have been cleared by the department and that it is safe to move them to another area. As you might know, we have declared a war against January disease, but this is being deterred by those illegal movements of livestock,” he said.
All rural provinces in Zimbabwe, except for Matabeleland North, have been affected by theileriosis and the control of cattle movement is expected to ensure that the disease does not spread to areas that might not have been affected.
Theileriosis is common between December and March and is most prevalent in January hence the name January disease.
The disease is spread through the bite of an infected brown ear tick.
Signs of an animal affected by January disease include swelling of the lymph nodes under the ears and on the shoulder, cloudiness of eyes, difficulty in breathing with froth from the nose and mouth.
The affected animal collapses and dies within a few days.
Last year, the Department of Veterinary Services killed more than 80 cattle which had been moved without the movement permit.
Dr Machakwa said the department was on high alert to ensure that no infected animal is moved into a new area where it can possibly infect other animals.
“Farmers should know that each cow should get a veterinary movement permit for it to be moved. That helps us to ensure that we do not spread disease from one place to the next.
“It also helps us when we are having outbreaks to quickly control the outbreak and lift any quarantines that we would have imposed for disease control,” he said.
He said illegal movement of animals only served to prolong quarantines which was bad for the farmers who depended on selling their livestock as well as the economy.
“The law will be applied in all cases where animals are moved illegally. This loss of animals is avoidable and farmers need to comply with the Law to avoid destruction of their animals,” said Dr Machakwa.