the herald

Lesego Valela Herald Correspondent

Farmers who violate quarantine rules meant to control foot-and-mouth disease are largely responsible for the isolated cases recorded in some provinces, the Department of Veterinary Services said.

Foot-and-mouth disease is caused by a virus and affects both domestic and wild animals, especially those with cloven hooves, and symptoms develop within a fortnight, including lameness, foot sores, mouth sores and excessive salivation.

The disease is highly contagious as it spreads from animal to animal with buffalo considered the natural reservoir in Zimbabwe, making eradication impossible and requiring further action.

The veterinary department said that without the wandering farmers the situation was stable. The department controls the spread of the disease largely through strict controls on animal movement and by quarantining any suspected outbreaks.

“Unfortunately, some farmers and traders failed to comply with the quarantine orders and this resulted in the spread of the disease from one area to another,” the statement read.

“To ensure compliance with movement restrictions, DVS, in partnership with ZRP, has erected roadblocks at strategic points across the country,” the statement read.

Those caught moving livestock without veterinary movement authorization risk prosecution and the confiscation and destruction of their animals.

“Farmers and traders are encouraged to move animals under a veterinary permit issued by a veterinarian at all times and to report any livestock newly introduced into your area to the veterinary office,” they said.

Farmers are advised to report all suspected cases of the disease.

“They have to report all lame cattle and all cattle with excessive salivation. They must never divert livestock for breeding when it is destined for slaughter.

“Farmers must strictly observe quarantine orders when given by the veterinary office, when ordered by the veterinary office to keep daytime livestock and kraal farmers must comply with the requirements,” said the veterinary department.

Cattle were a source of income that facilitated the generation of foreign currency.

“Successful control of foot-and-mouth disease opens access to lucrative regional and international markets for our livestock and livestock products, and thereby significantly improves farmers’ incomes, reduces poverty, improves livelihoods, promotes development rural and improve our economy,” the department said.

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