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Sick Cattle Arrive At Karachi’s Slaughterhouses

02 September 2010

PAKISTAN - Cows and buffaloes were falling dead in the flood-hit areas but now, many of the sick animals are being brought to Karachi. As the floodwaters recede, the cattle that did not drown are struggling to battle several diseases.

Cattle owners are desperate to sell off their sick livestock, even at painfully low prices and butchers across the province, and especially in Karachi, are seizing the opportunity to get cheap meat. Diseased cattle are being brought into the city’s slaughterhouses, posing a serious healthcare risk, reports TheExpressTribune.

A lot of cattle are being brought into Karachi from Thar, said a meat merchant, Ali Muhammad. Although the Thar region was not directly devastated by the floods, viruses travel far and much of the cattle in the area were infected. The livestock is suffering as fodder is wet and rotten.

“Foot-and-mouth disease has also erupted there, while a large number of cattle are dying of a fever, which is caught after a mosquito bite,” he claimed, saying that these mosquitoes had only spread after the floods. The affected cattle die within a few days, said Mr Muhammad.

It is not clear whether foot-and-mouth disease has broken out. Dr Mubarak Jatoi, who is the general secretary of the Pakistan Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA), said that so far, no official case of foot-and-mouth disease has been registered. He warned however that there was an “an acute threat” of it spreading because of the current climate and flood conditions.

“Foot-and-mouth disease is not transferable from animals to human beings but it may bring a 100 per cent mortality in affected cattle,” warned Dr Jatoi.

To make matters worse, cattle owners are saying that they have been sold false veterinary medicines and vaccines. Cattle trader, Mr Abdullah claimed that he had purchased medicines from private doctors to safeguard their cattle but “the medicines proved useless.” Moreover, the government is, perhaps understandably, too busy evacuating people to worry about this aspect of the disaster. But this is sure to have serious long-term repercussions, the traders warned.

“There will be a dearth of beef and mutton as livestock in the province has been devastated by the floods,” said Ali, “The only solution is that the government provide us medicines and treatment for our cattle instead of just making empty promises.”

According to the cattle breeder, no vaccination or veterinary teams had visited cattle markets in the province yet. Private doctors charge too much money for these vaccinations and an average farmer would not be able to afford them, especially after the damage to their lives and property by the floods. Dakelo Khan, working as a middleman in the cattle market, said that the meat business can be saved by providing cattle heads free of charge or on easy instalments to people in the kachcha areas, which is the main cattle breeding area of the country.

TheCattleSite News Desk


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