Govt Lifts Cattle Quarantine Ahead Of Festive Season

Dr. Nicholas Kauta, the Director of Animal Resources at the Directorate of Animal Resources, Department of Livestock Health and Entomology said the suspension was done following a remarkable improvement of Foot and Mouth disease situation in the country.

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Government has finally lifted a cattle quarantine imposed to curb the spread of Foot and Mouth Disease in 28 districts across the country ahead of the festive season.

The suspension of the quarantine comes five months after government slapped a ban on the animal movement from the 28 districts in July this year following an outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease.

Dr. Nicholas Kauta, the Director of Animal Resources at the Directorate of Animal Resources, Department of Livestock Health and Entomology in the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries announced the lifting of the suspension.

He said the quarantine has been lifted in the 28 districts across the country so as to allow animals specifically intended for slaughter to leave these districts. The districts include Kotido, Nakapiripirit, Abim, Amudat, Kasese, Kween, Soroti, Mbale, Nwoya, Lamwo, Bugiri, Kumi and Manfwa.

Others are Bukwo, Sironko, Alebtong, Serere, Budaka, Kapchorwa, Moyo, Ngora, Moroto, Bukedea, Katwakwi, Pallisa, Kaberamaido, Kibuku and Bududa.

Kauta said the suspension had been lifted because the danger of Foot and Mouth disease spread had been greatly reduced. He explained that it was also introduced to save families that depend on their animals for income from poverty.

However, he said movement of animals especially for breeding will remain restricted in some districts. He did not name the districts. 

Livestock dealers and butchers have received the news with joy.

Hakim Mupenzi, a butcher at Mbale Main market, describes the lift of the ban as a Christmas present. He says the ban had adversely affected their business and he hopes they can make some money during the festive season. 

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Ramadzan Magombe, another butcher, says the ban had forced some of them to sell meat illegally because of the high demand.  He calls the decision timely because many of them were finding it difficult to fend for their families.

Michael Wandukwa, the Mbale District Veterinary Officer also welcomes the move by government to suspend the quarantine. He says their assessment also indicates that the disease was no longer in the region after vaccinating over 17, 000 livestock.

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He however says livestock traders and farmers should in future be cautious in case of an outbreak of such disease and adhere to the government's directive.

Foot and mouth is an infectious viral disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals such as cattle, sheep, pigs and goats. Although it may not kill mature animals, it is said to greatly affect their productivity. The disease affects the mouth of the animal, thereby making feeding difficult and leading to retarded growth.