Amid COVID-19, Foot And Mouth Disease Continues To Kill Livestock In Kashmir Parts

by Sarmad Dev

SRINAGAR: Amid COVID-19 infections, the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreak in various parts of Kashmir has caused huge economic loss to villagers as their cattle are dying in large numbers.

Reports said that there are at least 18,000 animals suffering from FMD with a mortality rate of 3-4%, meaning 2,000-3,000 animals were taken away from the disease.

They said that with the disease spreading at an alarming rate, the worst-hit areas are the outskirts of Hazratbal, Zakura as well as in districts such as Pulwama, Budgam, Ganderbal, in many cases have been reported with little to no avail of vaccination for the disease-riddled animals.

Shaban Dar, a resident of Lilihara, Pulwama said, “We are facing a huge problem as our cattle are dying. Even in Dogaam (another village in Pulwama), there is a lot of concern about this issue.”

“Either the cows get their feet eaten by maggots or some sort of puss starts to pour out from their mouths, causing them to eventually die due to the pain. Mostly we see this disease in cows which are reared near sheep as well as in sheep as well,” he said.

“Losing one’s cattle is just the same as losing a limb,” he added.

“Our sheep and cows are getting these worms in their feet and they are giving out because of the pain, the vets are telling us little to nothing about the disease,” Iqbal Ahmad, a resident of Chadoora said.

“We are required to vaccinate our cattle every February but still our animals are developing FMD. We are ready to pay anything, even kneel in front of the governing bodies, to help us,” said Iqbal.

However talking to the officials as well as the veterinarians, they were over-cautious about the issue.

Nodal officer for FMD in Kashmir, Dr Anil Gupta told Kashmir Life that awareness camps were organized by the department in the valley to educate the people to avoid its spread.

“When a child is born, before anything we get them through the deworming process so it does not cause any vaccination failure in the future. Our teams are helping all the people who are in need for the vaccine which is about 10 -20 rupees.”

“We have also set up a village network across Kashmir through which we are providing all the necessary medications, however, due to the coronavirus, the government is trying its best to get more and more vaccines in the coming days. The disease is contagious among animals but the mortality rate is mostly seen in the younger animals,” he said.

“We advice people whose animals are suffering to immediately contact their nearest vet or animal husbandry as waiting could prove fatal.” Dr Anil said.


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