No TB outbreak among cows, says Vet Dept

PETALING JAYA: The Veterinary Services Department has refuted social media postings which claim that thousands of cows have been culled as a result of tuberculosis (TB).

The department said its staff members pictured in photos that went viral over the weekend were actually burying nine dairy cows which had been culled in accordance with the Malaysian veterinarian protocol for tuberculosis.

“The claim in the video that 7,000 to 8,000 cows have been destroyed is not true.

“People do not have to worry about the safety of the milk and meat produced. They are safe to be consumed,” the department said in a statement yesterday.

It said that as of this year, only 11 dairy cows which tested positive for TB had been culled, while 57 infected cows were culled last year and 68 in 2016.

“The photos were taken in Sg Nilam (in Selangor) on Jan 10 and Feb 21, as part of the procedure for the surveillance and control of animal disease,” it said.

On Sunday, photos of the department’s staff members in Selangor culling and burying several cows accompanied by a voiceover went viral.

The audio, in Tamil and English, claimed that there was a major outbreak of TB among cows and 7,000 to 8,000 animals had been culled.

The voiceover claimed: “Since the TB virus cannot be treated, they had to separate and kill all the cows. If you drink cow’s milk in shops, please avoid it,” it said.

It also claimed that the “virus” could not be killed even at 1,000°C.

In actual fact, bovine tuberculosis is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium bovis.

It is related to M. tuberculosis, which causes TB in humans, and can jump species. Any M. bovis in the milk of infected cows is, however, killed by the pasteurisation process.

Related story:

Viral post on culling rings alarm bells

cows , TB , Veterinary