Illegal cattle movement costs Mat South Vet Dept US$30 000

The Chronicle

Yoliswa Dube-Moyo, Matabeleland South Bureau Chief

THE Department of Veterinary Services in Matabeleland South province last week used vaccines for foot and mouth disease (FMD) worth over US$30 000 after a farmer from Sizeze Village, Gwanda District, moved cattle from an FMD red zone without a permit.

Mr Thabani Mafu was given a destruction and disposal order by the department after he moved six head of cattle from Mncwazini Farm in Figtree to Mathole Diptank in Gwanda without a permit.

The cattle had no Veterinary Movement Permit which is a requirement of the Animal Health Act when one wants to move cattle from one point to the other.

According to the destruction and disposal order, Mr Mafu contravened the provisions of Animal Health (Movement of Cattle and Pigs) Regulations, 1984.

“Figtree District is a Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) red zone area.

The illegal movement posed a risk of spread of FMD-to-FMD free areas.

Now, therefore, under and by the virtue of powers vested in the Director of Veterinary Services by Section 7, Subsection (3), paragraph (a) of the Animal Health Act (Chapter 19:01) and as read with Section 7, subsection (2) paragraph (a) and (b) of the said Act, the director orders the destruction of the six cattle and the safe disposal of the carcasses.

The provincial veterinary officer for Matabeleland South is hereby ordered to destroy the six cattle and ensure safe disposal of carcasses.

The destruction and disposal must be witnessed by police details,” reads the destruction and disposal order.

Matabeleland South provincial veterinary services director Dr Enat Mdlongwa said it was important for farmers to understand the need for livestock disease control to preserve their herds.

“We’re an authority responsible for controlling diseases and we found the disease at Cyrene Mission and put these animals under quarantine to say no movement in or out.

This guy just decided to take these animals and move them, further infecting the area and downstream, that’s why we went and shot them.

I destroyed four today (yesterday) and I’m waiting for the other two tomorrow (today),” said Dr Mdlongwa.

He said farmers continued to breach the Animal Health Act to the detriment of their animals.

“I’m not so sure how we can teach these guys to a point where they can understand because these outreach meetings by our extension officers on the ground are done to guide them.

You can’t move an animal without a permit.

Even with a police clearance, you’re not allowed to move an animal.

The police clearance just shows that the animal belongs to you and it was not stolen.

The authority for an animal to be allowed to move comes from the veterinary services as we’re the custodians of the Animal Health Act,” said Dr Mdlongwa.

He highlighted that the Animal Health Act was enacted in 1961 and it is still operational to date.

“For people to decide to go against the Act and move animals without authority is not allowed in this country.

I understand this farmer is nomadic; one homestead is maintained at Sizeze Village and the other one is at Cyrene so he just moves his animals up and down as and when he wants to move them.

He was caught by someone who saw him moving these animals out of Cyrene and told us that he was moving cattle illegally.

He was moving the cattle from an infected area and as a result, the whole of Nhathisa and Tshaphu areas are now FMD infected areas.

Just in the past two days, we’ve spent over US$30 000 worth of vaccine trying to vaccinate animals in those areas.

The country is losing a lot of money because of people who don’t want to follow the law. We don’t condone that,” said Dr Mdlongwa.

— @Yolisswa

Article Source: The Chronicle

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