Officials attribute the deaths to a ‘mysterious’ disease

A slew of cattle deaths at Moolimangalam in the district over the past fortnight have injected fear among farmers and disquiet among Animal Husbandry department officials.

While the deaths have been ascribed to a ‘mysterious’ disease, there are whispers that the dreaded foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is the reason. Though officially, there has been no death of cattle due to FMD in the district in the past month.

Sources say at least a dozen animals had fallen prey to the ‘mysterious’ disease at Moolimagalam not far from the Cauvery, which many veterinarians point out as a major carrier of the viral disease that threatened the bovines in the district in the last three months. Due to the death of a clutch of animals, then, the officials upon instructions from the State government had ordered closure of shandies, including the huge Uppidamangalam shandy, and the cattle-trading centres are yet to be reopened even after a month.

The officials resorted to a mammoth exercise of vaccinating 1.67 lakh animals. While department officials confirm the death of two cows at Rangapalayam near Uppidamangalam in the past four days, they plead ignorance on Moolimangalam deaths. On the other hand, a section of farmers is apprehensive over vaccination against FMD fearing loss in milk yield. While trading of infected animals at the shandies and outside is the common source of the spread of FMD, water bodies have been good carriers of the viral disease.

That being the reason, it is said that the shandy lessees have petitioned officials for reopening the markets claiming that there has been no death of animals due to FMD in the district in the past month and there is no justification in the continued closure of the shandies.