GOVERNMENT’s decision to lift the ban on the movement and sale of livestock in some selected parts of the country is a welcome move.
It is common knowledge that rearing livestock is an economic activity which supports a large por- tion of the country’s population.
And with the festive season quickly approach- ing, the livestock farmers have a chance to recoup some of the losses suffered during the ban.
The government was forced to effect the ban due to an outbreak of anthrax at the beginning of Oc- tober.
However, it is clear that the government’s quick intervention has helped the country contain the outbreak of anthrax and restrict it to a few areas.
Livestock and Fisheries Minister Makozo Chikote has announced that the ban on livestock trading has been lifted in low risk areas following the re- duction of anthrax cases.
Mr Chikote said the country has not recorded an anthrax case since October 21, 2023.
But this should not mean that livestock farmers should relax. They should ensure that they con- tinue to heed the experts’ advice on how to look after their animals.
They must ensure that they work closely with the Department of Veterinary Services whose exper- tise is crucial to the health of their livestock.
Mr Chikote said on its part, the ministry has con- tinued with surveillance as the disease has not been completely eradicated.
Mr Chikote said as part of the measures to con- trol the disease, farms within the affected areas were surveyed as well as those that reported sus- pected cases of the disease.
He said in Chongwe, 793 pigs were destroyed to prevent the disease from spreading, while 43 died after being infected.
The uncontrolled movement of animals is largely responsible for animal diseases and it is important that the Veterinary Department is active.
As Mr Chikote pointed out, the relaxation is how- ever subject to conditions that farmers should have a valid stock movement permit from the respective district veterinary office, among other measures.
This is to ensure that diseased animals are not transported across the country.
No wonder that when the country recorded an outbreak of anthrax, some cases were reported in areas which had never been affected before.
This just shows how irresponsible some live- stock owners could be by putting the whole coun- try at risk of animal diseases like anthrax.
Maintaining a healthy herd must be every cattle owners’ priority as that translates into wealth par- ticularly in rural areas.
For its part, the government, while assuring that it would continue with its surveillance must go out of its way to sensitise the farmers on proper animal husbandry.
This must include having their animals regularly treated. For those rearing pigs, the animals should be kept in clean surroundings.
Their focus should be on the export market espe- cially to the huge Congo DR market which is there for the taking.
Thus, they must prioritise the health of their animals to reap the economic benefits and must therefore not drop their guard.