‘Livestock breeders must cooperate’

KUALA TERENGGANU: There is difficulty in implementing measures to treat and curb haemorrhagic septicaemia, due to indifference among breeders towards vaccination, said Terengganu executive councillor Dr Azman Ibrahim.

Vaccines for the fatal disease that affects livestock is given free by the state Veterinary Services Department (DVS), but breeders must cooperate, added the state Agriculture, Agro-based Industry and Rural Development Committee chairman.

“When an outbreak is detected at a location, the department will immediately carry out preventive measures by giving vaccines to all livestock in the district and surrounding areas.

“The vaccines are given free of charge. We only need the breeders’ cooperation and I am confident that we have sufficient supply of the vaccine,” he said.

Dr Azman said there were a few breeders who denied the department’s request (to vaccinate) as they assume that their animals are healthy and this hinders the preventive measures which in the end result in large number of deaths.

He said the disease was first detected in the state in 2018 and since then, DVS had taken the necessary actions as required in their standard operating procedure (SOP).

Breeders, he said, should take preventive steps by separating livestock with symptoms and immediately reporting the case to the department for vaccines to be administered quickly.

On Monday, the media reported the death of 36 buffaloes belonging to the family of 15-year-old Muhammad Syukur Khamis, also known as the ‘Kampung Boy’, believed to have been due to haemorrhagic septicaemia.

State DVS director Dr Mohd Termizi Ghazali said from Aug 9 to 28, 13 breeders had lost their livestock to the disease, involving 22 buffaloes and 15 cattle at Kampung Tuman Jerong, Marang.

Vaccinations were carried out beginning Aug 30 at 12 villages on 675 cows and 58 buffaloes belonging to 106 breeders, he added.

Dr Mohd Termizi also said the state DVS had declared the buffalo farm belonging to the family of Muhammad Syukur in Kampung Banggol Katong near Serada here, as a restricted area to the public.

The measure was taken under the Animals Act 1953 (Act 647) which only allowed the owners to enter the area, to prevent the disease, believed to be haemorrhagic septicaemia, from spreading to other areas.

“This is the SOP in ensuring that there is no movement of people and vehicles into the farm as it poses an infection risk to livestock in other areas.

“This farm has been closed until the problem of the outbreak is resolved,” he said.

A Bernama check at the farm found that the process of burying the dead buffaloes was still ongoing.

Muhammad Syukur said five more buffaloes died this morning, while six were found to have critical symptoms.

“This morning I was even more sad because I saw a buffalo calf that was only a month old still breastfeeding from its dead mother.

“I don’t know how to describe the feeling of sadness. I was choked with emotion.

“For now, we are really hoping to find a way to save the buffaloes that are still healthy,” he said.

Muhammad Syukur’s father, Khamis Jusoh, 64, said they were at a loss on how to isolate buffaloes that were still healthy, as suggested by the Veterinary Department, due to space and time constraints.

“It is difficult for me to quarantine the animals because there is no suitable place. This is an open area. Moreover, buffaloes cannot be exposed to hot weather. They will cross over the fence to go to the nearby paddy fields.

“I really hope the healthy buffaloes can be saved with the Veterinary Department’s expertise and skills, but if not (and more deaths occur), I am resigned to God’s will,” he said. — Bernama

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