The Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock says it has put in place a strategy that will completely eradicate the persistent problem of Contagious Bovine Pleuro Pneumonia (CBPP) disease in Western Province.
Fisheries and livestock minister Nkandu Luo revealed that through implementation of the ‘test and slaughter’ control strategy, her ministry is determined to ensure that CBPP disease occurrences are completely done away with once and for all.
Professor Luo said government has for a long time been trying to solve the problem of CBPP in western province but the disease has persisted and moved to new areas.
‘The veterinary department has been carrying out routine disease control measures such as vaccination campaigns but these measures have not yielded the intended results’ Luo said.
She said the disease has instead been moving from western province towards central, southern and northern parts of the country.
‘As I am speaking, Lukulu and Kaoma districts have new reported cases of CBPP, this means the entire western province is now affected. If we do not resolve the problem, we might have a bigger problem affecting the whole country’, She lamented.
Professor Luo said this situation has compelled her ministry to implement the test and slaughter strategy that will ensure that the disease is completely eradicated in western province.
The minister said the test and slaughter strategy is not meant to deprive livestock farmers of their livelihood.
‘Cattle that will test positive of CBPP will be isolated and slaughtered at abattoirs. We have entered into an arrangement with the abattoirs, they will compensate the farmers by buying the carcass at prevailing economic prices’, Luo explained.
Speaking when she paid a courtesy call on the Barotse Royal Establishment in Limulunga district in western province, Professor said the ‘buy in’ of the ‘test and slaughter’ strategy from traditional leaders is key in sensitisation efforts to ensure livestock farmers fully participate.
Professor LUO said the veterinary department has begun the exercise in Kaoma district where a mobile laboratory has been established and will soon roll out the ‘test and ‘slaughter’ strategy throughout the province.
‘Once we isolate the positive herds and slaughter, we will then begin the restocking of cattle in western province so that farmers start rearing improved disease free cattle’, Luo said.
And speaking on behalf of the Barotse Royal Establishment, Prime Minister Manyando Mukela welcomed the test and slaughter initiative as it will restore the cattle population which has decimated due to CBPP.
Mr. Mukela said CBPP has been a major problem as it has affected most of the cattle herd in western province.
‘Because the disease is contagious, farmers decided to get rid of their entire herds by selling all the cattle to the abattoirs and this has reduced that cattle population in the province’, he said.
The Ngambela called on the ministry of fisheries and livestock to sensitize farmers and ensure that the initiative reaches the remotest areas of the province where the disease is devastating livelihoods.
Mr. Mukela urged the officers who will be implementing the exercise to take the initiate seriously as previous interventions such as vaccinations have failed to eradicate the disease which is now spreading to new areas.
Meanwhile Kaoma district livestock officer Teddy Fumbelo said the district recorded the first case of CBPP disease in March this year.
Mr. Fumbelo said the disease is suspected to have come from an infected herd in Limulunga district where a farmer got animals for ploughing.
He said the farmer’s animals started to die and reported the matter to his office.
‘When we received the report, we sampled his kraal and the results indicated that almost all of his 62 cattle were affected. We then continued sampling more areas and discovered that more than 10 kraals tested positive within the district’, Fumbelo said.
Mr. Fumbelo disclosed that over 60 herds with an estimated population of 2,500 cattle have been affected.
‘We have lost more than 700 cattle since the disease broke out and so far we have filtered and removed 500 cattle from 10 Kraals’, He added.
And farmers in Nalulembwe area in Kaoma where the CBPP was reported have commended government for the ‘test and slaughter’ disease control initiative.
Leonard Kabele said before the intervention, farmers were in a predicament on what to do with their cattle.
Mr. Kabele who had willing handled over his entire herd to veterinary officers for testing says he had lost 21 cattle out his 45 to CBPP.
‘I am happy with the testing and slaughter initiative, I am now on my way to the abattoir to have the remaining 23 cattle slaughtered so that I can have some income as compensation’, he said.
When asked how the disease entered his kraal, Mr. Kabele suspects his cattle could have interacted with infected animals as their animals graze communally.
According to Principal Veterinary Research Officer Geoffrey Muuka, CBPP is an infectious lung disease caused by bacteria which is spread through the inhalation of air
droplets from an affected animal.
Dr. Muuka says the animal pants for breath and coughs as the affected lungs cannot provide enough oxygen for circulation to the body.
‘CBPP is highly infectious, when one animal is affected, the disease can spread and affect upto 100% of the entire herd’, Dr. Muuka explained.
He said CBPP is a disease of movement and mortality is high in naive herds.
Dr. Muuka said for the past 12 years the veterinary department had maintained Kaoma and Lukulu district clean from CBPP and encouraged communities to control livestock movement which is the source of contraction.
‘These cases we are now having are new, I urge farmers to ‘police’ themselves and not allow illegal movements of cattle and ensure no strange animal enters their kraal without a livestock permit’, He added.