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Lumpy skin disease spreads to 25,000 bovines in Rajasthan

With the lumpy skin disease spreading fast among bovines in western and northern Rajasthan, cattle-rearers in the State are suffering heavy losses. The infection has spread to about 25,000 cattle in the last couple of months and resulted in the death of more than 1,200 animals.

The State government has decided to set up control rooms in Jaipur as well as the affected districts for continuous monitoring of the spread of infections. Animal Husbandry Minister Lalchand Kataria visited Phalodi in Jodhpur district on Monday to take stock of the situation and met the cattle herders whose animals were infected.

Mr. Kataria said teams of veterinarians had been mobilised to provide treatment promptly and arrangements made for the supply of essential medicines to cattle herders. The affected bovines are being isolated to stop the chain of infection.

A team of experts from the Centre also visited some of the affected areas on Monday to monitor the situation.

Dairy sector hit

While the dairy sector has been adversely affected by the lumpy skin disease, the outbreak of the infection has also posed a threat to the State’s position as a stronghold of cattle and livestock. According to the 20th Livestock Census undertaken in 2019, the livestock population in Rajasthan was 5.68 crore and the cattle population was 1.39 crore.

Local breeds affected

The infection, which was initially reported from the border districts of Jaisalmer and Barmer, has since spread to the districts such as Jodhpur, Jalore, Sirohi, Nagaur and Bikaner. The disease has mainly affected indigenous cows and spread rapidly among the bovines having low immunity.

Mr. Kataria said ₹1 lakh each had been allocated to the affected districts for purchasing medicines in an emergency situation, while ₹50,000 each had been released to polyclinics.

“Wherever there is a shortage of veterinary personnel, teams will be sent from the neighbouring districts. The nodal officers are also visiting the affected districts and taking effective action,” he said.

‘Jodhpur worst hit’

P.C. Kishan, Secretary (Animal Husbandry & Gopalan), said while the highest impact of the disease had been reported from Jodhpur division, only 1% to 1.5% of the infected bovines had died because of their weakness and low immunity. The Collectors of the affected districts were in constant touch with veterinary doctors for taking action to prevent the spread of the infection, he added.

Livestock ravaged in Gujarat State government struggling to contain spread, say farmers

Thousands of cows have died of lumpy skin disease in Gujarat, claim cattle farmers who say that government authorities are struggling to contain its spread.

“The outbreak has ravaged Kutch district. In our district alone, more than 5,000 cows, calves and bullocks have died in the last one month,” said Naran Gadhavi, a social worker from Kutch, who lost one cow to the deadly virus. He added that cattle herders and farmers have suffered massive economic losses due to deaths of their animals, pushing them into misery.

Blaming the government for failing to contain the disease, he said the government does not have adequate manpower or infrastructure to control the outbreak and as a result, cattle farmers are suffering losses. “In Kutch, there are over 900 villages but only 14 veterinarians across the district,” he added.

As per the details shared by the government on Monday, 1,431 cattle died in Gujarat due to LSD, with the disease spreading to 20 districts of the State.

‘Numbers higher’

However, local media reports and farmers from the affected districts say the real number could be several times higher as the disease has spread to even remote villages and settlements.

“You visit our district to see the reality for yourself. It’s a huge outbreak and the government is simply not able to manage it,” said Gujarat Congress’ farmer wing president and a local farmer from Dwarka district, Pala Ambalia.

He and Naran Gadhvi from Kutch said the price of a cow ranges from ₹15,000 to ₹25,000.

“We want the government to announce compensation package for farmers who have lost their livestock,” both added.

As the contagious disease spreads in villages, hundreds of dead animals are being thrown around, prompting the government to direct the district authorities to dispose of carcasses scientifically.

Gujarat’s Animal Husbandry Minister Raghavji Patel told pressmen that lumpy skin disease has been reported in 54,161 cattle in 1,935 villages of 20 districts.

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