Tribune News Service
Dharamsala, December 23
Shepherds in Kangra and Una districts are reporting significant mortality among their animals due to foot and mouth disease. Besides, amid the outbreak, people in plains are not allowing traditional Gaddi shepherds to camp in their vicinity.
Orders have already been placed by the Department of Animal Husbandry at state and district levels for the vaccine for foot and mouth disease. Dr Sandeep Mishra, Assistant director, Cattle production, Palampur
Raju, a shepherd, said, “Farmers in Una district did not allow us to camp in grasslands, fearing that their cattle would catch foot and mouth disease from our goats. I have lost four sheep to the disease.”
Samriti, another shepherd who is migrating with her herd of sheep and goats from higher hills to plains in Kangra district, said her family had lost six sheep to foot and mouth disease. “The loss is huge for our family. The mortality was more in adult sheep,” she said.
Sources said the state government had failed to vaccinate smaller animals like sheep and goat in time this year, due to which there was an outbreak of foot and mouth disease among herds of traditional ‘’gaddi’’ shepherds. They said the Union Government used to supply vaccine against foot and mouth disease for all animals in the state. However, the availability of vaccine is linked to data to be uploaded for cattle. While the Animal Husbandry Department of the state has uploaded data for bigger animals like cattle, data for smaller animals like goats and sheep is yet to be uploaded.
Sources said most of the cows and buffaloes had been tagged in the state and their data was available with the department. The tagging of sheep and goat was difficult due the practice of migration by shepherds. Since the department failed to upload data for sheep and goat, the vaccine for foot and mouth disease for them was not made available by the Union Government, sources revealed.
Assistant director, cattle production, Palampur, Dr Sandeep Mishra said the state government had ample supply of vaccine for bigger animals. Since there was a delay in the availability of vaccine for smaller animals from the Centre, the CM has directed officials of the Animal Husbandry Department to purchase the same vaccine on its own, he said. The shepherds, however, allege that due to the delay, they had already suffered losses.