The foot-and-mouth disease has claimed 2,060 cows and affected 16,573 animals in 1,304 villages in 19 districts of the State between September 1 and October 5.
Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly H.D. Kumaraswamy, who released data related to the disease, said that shortage of veterinary doctors and non-availability of vaccine were the major reasons for the spread of the disease. Several families, who depend on income for dairying, have been severely affected as a large number of cows died of the disease, he said.
Lakshmamma Prakash, resident of Nanur in Channapatna, committed suicide unable to bear the loss of cows. She lost two cows and three sheep, he said.
The disease claimed 664 cows in Ramanagaram district, the highest in the State, followed by Kolar 512, Mandya 325 and Chickballapur 215. The disease has affected 16,573 head of cattle in 19 districts. Mr. Kumaraswamy said that nearly 800 posts of veterinary doctors remained vacant in the State.
The foot-and-mouth disease spread widely due to the shortage of vaccine. As many as 5,635 vacancies, including those in Group D, existed in the Animal Husbandry Department, he said.
According to a veterinary doctor, many cows died of viral infection. As a preventive measure, cattle have to be vaccinated twice a year. The disease affects high yielding cattle early.
With the outbreak of the disease being confirmed in Kerala, entry of cattle (cows, bulls, and buffaloes) from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu into Kerala has been banned.
Karnataka ranks 11 in milk production in the country and contributes 3.57 per cent to the State’s Gross Domestic Production. The share of dairying in the farm sector’s income is 27.64 per cent in the State.
The cattle head in the State stands at 140 lakh.
JD(S) plans padayatra
The Janata Dal (S) has said that it will launch a padayatra from Srirangapatna to Bangalore if the State government failed to release compensation of Rs. 25,000 each before October 15 to those families who lost cattle to foot-and-mouth disease.