Move likely to lead to fresh outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease: SPCA

The State government has decided to end the ban on cattle transport from neighbouring States, imposed more-than-a month ago to check the spread of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD).

The government had banned the movement of cattle to the State since December 4. Cattle from other States would be allowed to be brought in through five border check-posts from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Thursday, said N. N. Sasi, director, Animal Husbandry Department.

The FMD had impacted the cattle population of the State in a big way and resulted in a dip in milk production.

It was after reviewing the disease situation that the department took the decision to allow cattle transport through the check-posts at Muthalamada and Walayar in Palakkad, Kumili in Idukki, Manjeswaram in Kasaragod and Parassala in Thiruvananthapuram. Prevalence of the disease had come down considerably. A team of senior officials of the department had been regularly monitoring the situation, Dr. Sasi said.

‘Strict checks’

Cattle transport would be permitted under close scrutiny and special teams would inspect the cattle at check-posts. Chemical tests would be carried out as part of the screening process. Only healthy and disease-free cattle would be let in. Infected animals would not be allowed to be brought in, he said.

The time for cattle transport had been fixed between dawn and dusk to ensure that the animals were screened for disease. The support of law enforcement agencies would be required for the process, he said. M.N. Jayachandran, president of the Idukki unit of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty (SPCA) against Animals, said that the government decision would lead to fresh outbreak of the disease in the State.

Another outbreak of the epidemic would lead to serious economic impact in the State. The move would aid only the illegal slaughterhouses, he said.

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