- Over 2000 cows killed in weeks
- FG has abandoned vaccination, Miyetti Allah cries out
- Causes and signs to look out for- Experts
Two animal diseases have broken out in Bauchi State and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), killing over 2,000 animals in the last few weeks.
Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), a socio-cultural Fulani association, raised the alarm during an interview in Abuja.
General Secretary of the association Alhaji Baba Othman Ngelzarma said about 2,000 cows were killed in Bauchi State by the disease, while about 200 animals were affected in the FCT.
He gave the names of the diseases as Contagious Brovine Pleuro-Pneumonia (CBPP) which attacks cows, and Peste-des Pettis Ruminants (PPR) that kills goats and sheep.
The Meyetti Allah scribe expressed concern that if appropriate action is not taken urgently by the appropriate authorities, the diseases, which experts said are highly contagious, would spread to neighbouring communities.
“If this happens, cattle breeders are going to lose half of their animals in a matter of weeks,’’ he said.
While giving a breakdown of the outbreak in the FCT, Alhaji Othman said 100 cows were killed in Gwagwalada, 20 in Kwali, 15 in Ruga Ardo in Kuje, 10 in Tinape community in Bwari Area Council and some in Taku Shira community in Abuja Municipal Area Council.
He said the affected herders are worried on what to do, while others are living in fear of the unknown.
‘Govt has abandoned animal vaccination exercise’
Livestock owners are concerned that the federal and most state governments have abandoned what they called routine vaccination for cows, goats and sheep, exposing the animals to different kinds of diseases.
Alhaji Ardo Mohammed, who owns herds of cattle near Garam, a remote Niger State community, told our Agric Editor, that in the 90s, there used to be routine vaccination for animals but regretted that the exercise was stopped long ago and no one is looking at the possibility of resuming the service.
He said late last year, his uncle lost 34 cows to disease outbreak and got no assistance whatsoever from the government, and wondered why “issues affecting herders were being treated differently by those in government.”
The MACBAN scribe lamented that herders have been left to their fate as far as animal vaccination is concerned, thereby exposing the animals to various contagious diseases, many of which are killing them on regular basis.
To worsen the situation, he said many livestock drugs in the open shops are fake, thereby compounding the problem faced by the herders.
“The herders are living in poverty, without any palliative measures from government. No vaccination exercise for their animals and those affected by disease outbreaks mostly get no assistance,’’ he said.
No adequate data for cattle population
According to the MACBAN scribe, absence of precise data on the number of cows in the country remains a big challenge for any government intervention in the livestock sector, adding that in the absence of reliable data, it will be difficult to respond to emergencies like outbreak of diseases.
“This is so because you will not know the exact number, location of the affected cows as wells as the drugs and personnel required to address the problem,’’ he said.
Executive Director of the National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS) Zaria, Prof. Mohammed Othman, had said the last livestock census conducted in Nigeria was in 1993, adding that the country was still using that same data in current estimates.
“We have to undertake livestock census so as to know how many cows we have in this country. It’s very important because in many countries, they are able to tell you the number of cattle, the number of goats and sheep they have but we have been estimating.
“It is important that we conduct a survey to enable us to generate data on the animal population in this country,” Prof Othman said in Abuja at the public presentation of the Executive Summary of the Wet Season Agricultural Performance Report in Nigeria.
What you should know about the two diseases
The Peste-des Pettis Ruminants (PPR), according to Dr. Matthew Gabriel, a vet doctor, is also known as sheep and goat plague and is a highly contagious animal disease affecting small ruminants.
He said the virus can infect more than 80 percent of an animal herd and kill up to 60 percent of the infected animals.
The second disease, he said, which mainly attacks cows, is called Contagious Brovine Pleuro-Pneumonia (CBPP), and it is an infectious disease caused by mycoplasma mycoides bacterial. It causes inflammatory and enlargement of the lung of an infected animal.
It was reported that CBPP can lead to fluid accumulation in the chest cavity and destruction of chest tissues. Damaged areas of lung of the affected animals often harden and adhere to the chest wall, which makes breathing difficult and causes cattle to die for lack of oxygen.
Experts believe it is spread through the inhalation of airborne droplets from coughing/sneezing animals.
Experts say fever, moist coughing from exercise, painful, shallow and difficult breathing are some of the early signs of the disease.
Experts advocate the use of vaccination mainly in the endemic areas. Affected cows can also be isolated.
At the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, a senior official said the ministry had not been informed of the outbreak of the disease but that relevant departments would immediately swing into action.
The official, who preferred not to be named because he was not authorized to speak on such matters, assured that the ministry would find out and respond accordingly to the outbreaks.
On cow census, Daily Trust reports that the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, has adopted a new livestock census strategy aimed at generating accurate data and reliable estimates of livestock production and productivity for the country’s agricultural sector.