Virus endangers Punjab livestock, farmers distraught


LAHORE: According to reports from various parts of Punjab, livestock farmers are facing severe difficulties due to the spread of a virus which is affecting milking animals and causing their deaths.

Several farmers have approached and written to the livestock department but, as of now, the department has not given an adequate response.

According to reports, hundreds of animals from Sahiwal, Okara, Pakpatan, Faisalabad, Lahore, Multan, Khanewal, Kasur and other districts have been afflicted with the foot and mouth disease, commonly known as mounh khur in Punjab, and other diseases, due to which a number of animals have died over the period of one month.

The virus responsible for the spread of these diseases becomes active during winters only. Due to a lack of medicines, the concerned authorities have been unable to vaccinate the vulnerable milking animals. It is feared that the number of animals succumbing to the fatal disease would rise if the animals are not vaccinated in time.

A farmer Aijaz told media that he has visited the livestock department office five or six times in the last fifteen days. However, the department has been unable to give any satisfactory response to his complaints, he said, adding that the department sends the concerned farmers back with an apology to the effect that medicines are not available with them. “The department says that they will send the relevant teams as soon as medicines become available,” Aijaz said.

Aijaz further said that the vaccinations are extremely expensive for the poor milk farmers to acquire them privately. He appealed that the government uses the funds allotted to the livestock department to buy the requisite vaccinations for the endangered livestock and save them from dying.

A spokesperson for the department assured that they would soon acquire the much needed vaccination and administer them to the livestock. He said that an application to this effect has already been submitted to the concerned authorities.