In an extraordinary measure to control Foot and Mouth Disease, the government has taken the decision to slaughter 30,000 sheep and goats which were infected in the North East.
It has been announced that the exercise will take a month and that owners of all the slaughtered animals will be compensated in kind, meaning that farmers will have their livestock replaced after verification that the disease has been eradicated in the area.
Farmers in the affected areas have been urged not to move their sheep and goats to other areas as that would spread the disease to other areas.
In an effort to halt the spread of the disease in the North East in the past, cattle were slaughtered for the same reason.
Commenting on the issue, a veterinary doctor, who requested not to be named, said that though it is known that FMD does affect goats and sheep in some countries, it is a unique situation as this has never happened before in Botswana.
“This is a first case of its kind in Botswana. What is known is that the disease is prevalent in some countries, such as Mozambique, and it is likely that the disease originated from there then ended up in Botswana,” he said.
Asked what he thinks could be done about this, the doctor said that what needs to be done is to strengthen security along our borders to make sure that animals affected by such diseases do not cross into our country.
“We need to beef up our security along our borders to prevent such occurrences,” he said.
Efforts to get comment from the Ministry of Agriculture’s Department of Veterinary Services were futile.
Areas affected by the disease are Matshelagabedi, Matsiloje, Matopi , Patayamatebele and Ditladi.