The State government on Thursday said it was shortage of veterinary doctors and absence of universal vaccination that had led to the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in some districts of the State.

Addressing presspersons here, Minister for Animal Husbandry T.B. Jayachandra said the vaccination programme would be taken up on the pulse polio mode. He pointed out that there were 950 veterinary doctors’ posts vacant in the department, and 200 doctors only to control the disease.

The FMD has claimed 2,332 cows in the State and 18,386 have been infected in 1,507 villages.

The vaccination had covered only about 80 per cent of the cattle. He said several farmers show little interest in the vaccination of cows citing reduction in the milk yield for a few days after the injection, he said. Twenty-six doctors who are on deputation to other departments have been told to return to the parent department. It has been decided to hire retired veterinary doctors to complete the vaccination drive.

As a preventive measure against the disease, cattle have to be vaccinated twice a year. The disease affects early to high-yielding cattle, particularly hybrid varieties. With the outbreak of FMD confirmed in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, he said entry of cattle (cows, bulls and buffaloes) from other States has been regulated.

Asked about compensation, he said the milk unions have decided to grant compensation of Rs. 10,000 for families who have lost cattle to the disease. Only members of milk societies are eligible to receive compensation from milk unions and the Karnataka Milk Federation.

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