PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Wednesday directed the livestock department to ramp up efforts to stem the spread of lumpy skin disease among cattle in the province ahead of Eidul Azha and produce a detailed report on it.

A bench consisting of Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Syed Arshad Ali was informed by director-general of the livestock department Dr Alamzeb that around 8,000 head of cattle had so far been infected with the viral disease in the province, while the deaths from it totalled 203.

The court told him that as Eidul Azha was round the corner and the people would visit cattle markets in large numbers to buy sacrificial animals, the department should expedite efforts to control lumpy skin disease.

The court had taken a notice of the growing disease incidence in the province over news reports and summoned the relevant government officials to know about steps being taken for its control and prevention.

Livestock DG says it’s safe to eat meat of infected cattle

Assistant commissioner Dr Mohammad Ahteshamul Haq, veterinary officer Kamran Khan and additional advocate general Syed Sikandar Hayat Shah appeared before the bench and informed it about the latest situation regarding the infection.

The bench asked them if the meat of infected cattle was fit for human consumption, what steps the livestock department had taken to control the skin disease, and what the update was on cattle vaccination.

DG (livestock) Dr Alamzeb said lumpy skin disease spread among cattle through mosquitoes and that it was safe to eat the meat of the cattle infected with diseases.

He added that the department had been vaccinating the infected animals against diseases.

The DG said vaccines had so far been administered to around 150,000 head of cattle, while the anti-tick spray was also used on them.

He said the department had supplied 274,000 doses of vaccine against lumpy skin disease to the disease-hit districts and would procure 500,000 more within 24 hours.

Dr Alamzeb said besides the formation of a task force on the control of lumpy skin disease on emergency basis, a mobile app had also been developed for the speedy reporting of the cases.

He said the disease spread from one animal to another through mosquitoes, the department regularly sprayed insecticides in cattle markets across the province.

AAG Sikandar Hayat and AC Dr Ahtesham said all animals were examined, vaccinated and sprayed with anti-tick chemicals on arrival in 12 authorised cattle markets of Peshawar.

When asked, the DG told the bench that the vaccine against lumpy skin disease was imported.

He said the department hadn’t received any report of the sale of the vaccine on the black market.

Dr Alamzeb said the department had been asking the people to get their cattle vaccinated privately if that was possible instead of waiting for the government’s response.

“Hopefully, we will overcome this cattle disease in the province within three months,” he told the court.

Published in Dawn, June 30th, 2022

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