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Prosecution for farmers with undipped cattle

by Staff reporter
24 Feb 2022 at 05:39hrs | Views
FARMERS who do not comply with the recommended dipping programmes face arrest and prosecution amid reports that cattle in Matabeleland South province are at risk of January disease that was detected last month.

January disease (Theileriosis), which is an acute, frequently fatal disease, only affects cattle and is primarily transmitted by ticks.

It is more prevalent during the rainy season and cattle can be infected with the theileria parasite without necessarily showing any signs of clinical disease.

January disease is common between December and March and is spread through the bite of the brown ear tick.
According to the Communal Act of Zimbabwe, every communal farmer is bound by the Animal Health Act to take their cattle for dipping.

Matabeleland South provincial veterinary services director Dr Enart Mdlongwa said the veterinary services department was going to ensure that people who do not take their animals for dipping are prosecuted.

He said farmers were not complying with the recommended dipping regime which is to the detriment of their animals.

"We want farmers to follow the programme but unfortunately some of them are not complying. We're in this situation because our farmers don't want to bring all their cattle for dipping. On dipping day, where there are 57 farmers, only 40 bring in their animals. The 17 farmers who would not have brought their cattle for dipping render the dipping useless.

"There's too much independence with the dipping regime to the detriment of the the farmers' cattle. So, in line with the chief director's statement that came out recently, we're going to be massively prosecuting people who are not bringing animals for dipping," said Dr Mdlongwa.

According to the Department of Veterinary Services, tick-borne diseases are responsible for about 60 percent of annual losses in livestock.

The January disease deaths from the onset of the rainy season have dropped by 31 percent this year compared to last year but what is worrying is that the fight against the tick-borne disease in the province is being hampered by illegal movement of livestock.

"We first identified January disease at Lancaster Farm in Insiza district. We also found it at a dip tank called Huntley and in the Gwatemba inspectorate.

Since we started enforcing strict dipping regime two weeks ago, the cases are going down quite drastically. I don't have the exact figures right now but we're of the opinion that if we continue dipping our animals and thoroughly cleaning them under the cattle cleansing regulations, we can win," said Dr Mdlongwa.

Some communal livestock farmers are reluctant to take their animals for dipping fearing that their livestock will contract tick-borne diseases resulting in an increase in cattle deaths in most parts of the country.

As a way of minimising ticks, the farmers have resorted to spraying their livestock using knapsack sprayers at home while others are depending on tick-grease alone which does not get to the hard-to-reach places where ticks hide.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president Dr Shadreck Makombe said Government had through the veterinary department distributed dipping chemicals in most areas across the country.

"The veterinary department has distributed dipping chemicals and tick grease. It is unfortunate that some farmers decide not to take their cattle for dipping and this results in disease outbreaks and animal deaths.

"We are educating farmers on the importance of dipping," he said.

Source - The Chronicle