Vaccination of livestock to protect against foot-and-mouth disease in full swing

November 22, 2021

Mysuru: The department of animal husbandry and veterinary sciences has taken up a vaccination drive against the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), for more than 5.2 lakh livestock on a war footing, in Mysuru district this year.

The second round of the month-long drive, which was delayed due to the pandemic, began on November 8 and it will be completed by December 8.

The first round of this drive was held between February and March this year. Like the Pulse Polio immunisation drive, health workers are visiting door-to-door, to cover the livestock population of 5,16,260, in all the villages in seven taluks of the district.

Instructions have been given to local assistant director level officials of all the taluks, to vaccinate livestock, including cows, bulls, buffaloes, sheep, goats, and pigs during the drive, after taking the help of local veterinary inspectors and their assistants.

Apart from 265 animal husbandry department employees, the department has also utilised the services of 26 volunteers from the Karnataka Milk Federation, as well as taking the help of the Milk Producer Cooperative Society secretary and employees, to ensure that the drive is a success.

The department has set the target to cover 80 cattle heads every day, to complete the drive within a month. The department have kept the vaccines in taluk level department office coolers. They can be collected from their daily, in order to inoculate livestock.

Deputy director of animal husbandry and veterinary sciences Dr B N Shadkswaramurthy, said last year the district had registered 12 cattle deaths from FMD, and compensation was given to the owners of these animals, as per the norms of the government.

The department had received reports that some farmers are reluctant to bring their bovine animals for vaccination, as they fear that it will cause adverse health effects for them. However, he said that it is crucial to get cattle vaccinated for FMD, because if they get infected, there is a huge loss in milk production in these animals, and they become unproductive. “If a cow gets infected with FMD, it becomes very difficult for the animal to conceive, and it may soon become infertile. In case of bulls, their strength is affected, and the animal becomes infertile. Likewise, it also affects sheep and goats in villages,” he said.

“This is the second round of vaccination, since the FMD vaccination programme started in the district. It is a central government-funded programme, that is going on nationwide. It will be held once every six months. As the vaccination drive is free of cost, farmers must vaccinate their cattle to safeguard them from FMD,” he said.

“As cattle from near the fringes of forests are taken to forest areas for grazing, and there is a chance of spreading FMD to wild animals, in order to prevent it, the forest department will hold camps regularly in villages on the fringes of the forests, along with the veterinary science department, to vaccinate bovine animals once every six months. Moreover, the Union and state government had given clear-cut instructions to hold such camps regularly,” said V Edukondalu, deputy conservator of forests, MM Hills sanctuary.

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