Ngamiland’s Zone 2C, which covers villages of Tsau, Nokaneng, Habu, Gumare, Ikoga and several other places in the Okavango District, has been declared a “very dirty area”, such that cattle from these places can never be sold at any outside markets or even locally.
The Maun abattoir has also made it clear that they cannot buy those cattle unlike those from other extension areas within zone 2 (the rest of Ngamiland District).
Their being dirty also bars them from entering Zone 2D, made up of, among others, the HainaVeld Farms, Makalamabedi, Shorobe, Chanoga and Komana extension areas, all of which, even though currently viewed to be prone to Foot and Mouth (FMD) resurgence, are allowed to take their cattle for direct slaughter at Maun abattoir.
The confirmation was made by Maun Veterinary Superintendent, Keofe Lempadi, during his briefing of the Maun Administrative Authority (MAA) Sub council meeting last week. He said cattle from these areas (2C) can only be slaughtered and their meat and any other derived products may only be consumed there and not taken anywhere out of their zone.
“This is a no go zone and so we are still not very sure about the reliability of cattle from there. We detected new clinical cases of the disease in Tsau in June which we are still observing,” said Lempadi. “We are, however, not ruling them out; it’s just that at the moment there is nothing we can do about it up until we get results from our findings.”
Lempadi’s announcement did not go down well with councilors who also questioned the effectiveness of the current FMD vaccine, after cases of new infections were detected at Khubuga crush within 2C in April the previous year, when there had been no recorded cases there for a period of three years or so.
It also emerged that crushes north west of Habu, along the buffalo fence, were not vaccinated in the July 2012 emergency vaccination campaign as they were considered to be a low risk, something which councilors felt might have contributed to the reoccurrence of the disease.
Komana councilor, Morolong Mosimanyana, demanded to know why there had been continued vaccinations in 2C if indeed conclusions have been made that the area is dirty.
“Honestly this does not sound right and does not make any sense to me. We are now expected to buy cattle from fellow farmers for social functions even when our kraals are filled with so many cattle which we have no control of,” said Mosimanyana. “We are also always expected to avail ourselves during vaccination time to ensure the presence of our cattle, but we do not benefit a thing from the exercise as we are still beggars. Your department has to reconsider this whole thing and give us a report that is worthy because what we are hearing here will never take us anywhere. In fact, it angers us even more.”
Quizzed on why cattle from Shorobe and surrounding areas have been confirmed to be free from FMD even when they are just within the buffalo fence, and why even after passing through vaccination and veterinary inspection cattle from Zone 2C still cannot pass, Lempadi said: “Cattle from Shorobe have always been free from disease, and that is the area where we have a lot of buffalo infusion.
Not all buffalo carry the FMD virus, remember, and we have always gone all out to do case by case assessment there, after which we do vaccinations as well as surveillance. Also visually, 2C cattle may look pleasing, but you need to understand that that might be time when they are incubating. It is also worth knowing that FMD is detected on bone marrow, and so there is a very high possibility of them passing visually while at the same time there might be a problem with their bone marrow.”
Presenting a movement protocol savingram from the Director of Veterinary Services, Dr Tshepang Moeng of the Veterinary Office also stated that movement of all domestic cloven hooved animals for slaughter at social activities such as weddings, funerals, parties and so forth will only be allowed after the issuance of a veterinary permit after a favourable clinical inspection, and that in case of cattle, the animals should be bearing the latest two FMD vaccination brands and under permit within areas which had not had FMD in the past six months but within a sub zone.
“Movement is also allowed into the zone after a minimum of 30 days quarantine, two FMD vaccinations, 28 days apart and a clinical inspection on date of exit and cattle will only be trucked from the quarantine to the cattle post or farm of destination. Other domestic animals can be slaughtered at any officially licensed slaughter facility after a favourable clinical inspection, and the meat can only be consumed within Ngamiland, while animals should be trucked from production areas to slaughter facilities to avoid further spreading of the disease,” he said.