Sindh govt declares emergency to curb spread of lumpy skin disease

Published March 15, 2022
Meat sellers wait for customers at their shops in Empress Market on Monday.—PPI
Meat sellers wait for customers at their shops in Empress Market on Monday.—PPI

KARACHI: Amid an emergency declared by the provincial government to curb the spread of the lumpy skin disease in cattle, meat sellers on Monday staged a protest demonstration asking the authorities to lift the ban on cattle markets in the metropolis since the meat of slaughtered animals was safe for human consumption.

Livestock Minister Imdar Ali Pitafi told a press conference that the disease was prevalent only among cows, which were only 0.2 per cent of the cattle population in the province.

“Over 16,000 cows were affected due to Lumpy Skin Disease in Karachi alone,” he said adding that no human was so far reported to have been affected by the disease.

The minister said that the disease had been affecting animals across the globe for that last 100 years.

Meat sellers demand reopening of cattle markets

“We have declared emergency and formed a task force to control the disease,” he said, adding that a letter regarding the emergency over the disease had been dispatched to the commissioners of Karachi, Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Shaheed Benazirabad and Sukkur divisions.

Mr Pitafi recalled that the provincial government had demanded the federal government to notify the spread of the disease among cattle when the first case of was reported in November last year.

He said that the federal government was approached and requested to allow the provincial government to import vaccine. “The permission to this effect was not given timely and we had to declare emergency and constitute a task force to control the disease,” he added.

Vaccine orders placed

The minister said that the provincial government was allowed to import vaccine one time. “Subsequently, we contacted several international firms for importing vaccine. Three firms — two from Turkey and one from Egypt — have been given orders for procuring vaccine,” he added.

Besides, the minister said, the Sindh government also contacted the Punjab government for provision of goat pox vaccine. “The vaccine is likely to reach the province shortly,” he hoped.

Mr Pitafi said that the provincial government had taken the issue very seriously.

“The chief minister approved the summary for establishing a task force to curb the Lumpy Skin Disease in two days,” he said adding that the ban imposed on cattle markets would be lifted very soon.

He said that divisional commissioners had been directed to work with the provincial livestock and fisheries department and authorities concerned, to fight the disease.

The minister said that the commissioners had also been directed to ensure that the cattle, who had contracted the lumpy skin disease, must be quarantined.

“They have also been directed the livestock authorities to spray mosquito repellent in and around cattle farm,” he added.

Meat sellers’ protest

Meanwhile, the Meat Merchant Welfare Association (MMWA) staged a protest in front of the Karachi Press Club (KPC) and demanded that the local government department immediately issue orders to open the cattle markets.

MMWA president Nadeem Qureshi stated that over 500,000 meat sellers had been the victim of economic discrimination, adding that thousands of the merchants were staging the protest at the KPC.

He said that the animals, which were slaughtered in the cattle markets, were tidy and fit for human consumption.

The general secretary of the association, Arsalan Qureshi, said that the animals dying due to the skin disease belonged to farms.

“The animals brought from the wild side and villages are quite sound and healthy,” he claimed.

Published in Dawn, March 15th, 2022

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