Agriculture deputy minister (livestock) Paddy Zhanda has named Mwenezi as the source of a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak stalking Matabeleland region.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
Zhanda also accused private abattoirs in Bulawayo of spreading the disease through illegal transportation of cattle from the area into the city.
Zhanda said private abattoirs were ignoring restrictions regarding movement of cattle from areas where there was a foot-and-mouth outbreak, all for the love of money.
In April this year, the Veterinary Services Department ordered Mbokodo Abattoir along Plumtree Road to suspend operations after foot-and-mouth was detected.
Zhanda warned others were on surveillance with a view to contain the disease.
“The recent outbreak which took place started in Mwenezi because there are some buffaloes in that area,” he said.
“When there is an outbreak we put in some measures to restrict movement of cattle in the area.
“Unfortunately, for some people because of the need for profit, they illegally move cattle from areas where we would have put some restrictions.
“Nine out of 10, when there is an outbreak in that area we do create a buffer zone so that cattle in that side do not move to the other side.”
Zhanda was responding to a question in the Senate on Thursday asked by Bulawayo Senator Agnes Sibanda on what measures the government had put in place to control the outbreak of the foot-and-mouth disease.
Zhanda said the Food and Agriculture Organisation had assisted his ministry with vaccines to contain the disease.
“The other outbreak that occurred in Bulawayo was not because of some private abattoirs who illegally moved cattle from Mwenezi into Bulawayo,” he said.
“But because this abattoir has got a feedlot nearby, the owner was tempted to move the animals back and later this abattoir was prosecuted although fines are very small, but we are looking into it.
“We are empowered by statutes to deal precisely with those kinds of things.
“In this abattoir, we moved in quickly and we closed the abattoir for almost a month or so which cost the abattoir a lot of money because the owner was feeding cattle and could not slaughter them.”
Foot and mouth disease is a viral infection which affects livestock.