By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent
THE Veterinary Services Department has heightened surveillance on animal movement from disease-prone districts in a bid to curb the spread of deadly foot-and-mouth and Thieloriosis, commonly known as January disease.
In a show of commitment to curb the spread of diseases, the animal health authority recently put down 12 cattle illegally moved from Gokwe to Sanyati, before incinerating the carcasses.
Mashonaland West veterinary services director, Thokozani Mswela confirmed the incident and warned farmers and butchers that law enforcement agents were on the ground to enforce the ban.
“The Vet department has joined forces with the Zimbabwe Republic Police to enforce provisions of the Animal Health Act Chapter 19:01 that prohibit the movement of animals from disease red zones where foot-and-mouth and other diseases have been detected,” Mswela said.
“Recently, a farmer attempted to move 16 beasts from Chireya in Gokwe North, Midlands province to Mabhangara in Sanyati, Mashonaland West province without animal movement permits. After getting wind that vet officials were trailing him, he tried to smuggle them back to Gokwe. Unfortunately, he was intercepted before crossing Inyathi river. 12 cattle were killed, and their carcasses burnt in accordance with the law,” he said.
Four of the 16 cattle could not be accounted for.
Gokwe North has been declared a foot-and-mouth red zone and is presently under quarantine.
According to Mswela, illegal animal movement is the single major driver of disease transmission from one area to another.
He warned those intending to transport cattle, pigs, goats, sheep and wildlife to seek authority from relevant departments.
Errant transporters risk amimals being confiscated, killed, and incinerated, as well as prosecution, a fine or jail term, Mswela said.