Friday 21 July 2023


THE Department of Veterinary Services last week destroyed seven cattle that had been illegally moved from a quarantined area and earmarked for slaughter at an abattoir outside the province.

The cattle were reportedly bought from the Tanda area of Makoni North, where four dip tanks have been placed under quarantine for January Disease (JD) and Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).

When an area has been quarantined, it is illegal to move livestock in and out of it.

The development could just be a tip of the iceberg militating against efforts by Government to control the rapid spread of serious diseases, given the high cost involved in eliminating them in the country.

An alert veterinary officer intercepted a lorry laden with seven cattle early last Saturday morning along the Mayo-Chiendambuya Road.

The suspects — whose identities could not be established, were handed over to the police at Mayo.

Manicaland provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Nobert Muzondo was not readily available for a comment.

However, last week, Inspector Muzondo said dragnet teams had been deployed to help curb stock-theft and uncontrolled animal movements.

The suspects were allegedly driving the cattle without the requisite police clearance and a veterinary permit.

It is suspected the syndicate is enticing farmers with the greenback in exchange of sick cattle without following the requisite processes.

The Provincial Veterinary Officer for Manicaland, Dr Charles Guri was issued with the destruction and disposal order by the Director in the Department of Veterinary Services, Dr Josphat Nyika, on July 10.

The Director of Veterinary Services of Zimbabwe is empowered to issue such an order in terms of the Animal Health Act Chapter 19: 01, Section 8, subsection (1) and (2), as read with Section 7, subsection (3), paragraph (a), pertaining to the disposal of animals and infectious things unlawfully imported into Zimbabwe; as well as disposal of animals and things contaminated or infested with disease or pests.

Dr Guri and his team destroyed the herd on Tuesday this week.

He accused unscrupulous abattoirs of circumventing health protocols, slaughtering cattle infected with suspected theileriosis and FMD and selling the meat at the expense of public health.

Hundreds of cattle are succumbing to the deadly diseases, resulting in some farmers selling their infected cattle to butchers.

“We destroyed all the seven cattle that had been moved illegally from Tanda in Makoni North. The area has been quarantined for January Disease and FMD. No livestock movement is allowed in and out of the area.

“We are having abattoir owners moving in the area to buy sick animals for slaughter at their facilities. The cattle are not allowed to recover. The abattoir in question has been warned before, but continues to kill diseased animals and feed the beef into the food chain,’ said Dr Guri.

He said they have established roadblocks at Nyagadze Bridge, Dawara Bridge, Kanyimo and Nyamaropa Roads, but the unscrupulous elements are now using alternative routes to avert arrests.

“They are now moving at night with the livestock without veterinary permits and police clearances. On Saturday around 3am, a lorry carrying seven cattle was intercepted between Chiendambuya and Mayo by a veterinary official.

“The cattle had been moved from a quarantined area and police were alerted. The DVS applied for a destruction order which was granted, and we destroyed all the cattle by fire on Tuesday. Be warned, we will destroy all livestock illegally moved from quarantined areas,” said Dr Guri.

Authorities have since ordered all butcheries to stop selling diseased meat as this is illegal and unethical.

Cattle whose meat is meant for commercial purposes must also be slaughtered at a registered abattoir where compulsory meat inspection is done. Manica Post


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