HomeNewsBots offers to vaccinate stray Zim cattle

Bots offers to vaccinate stray Zim cattle

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Botswana has offered to assist Zimbabwe vaccinate cattle along the two countries’ border to curb the spread of diseases into its territory as livestock from both sides freely roam across the boundary.

The neighbouring country’s pledge to Zimbabwe came amid reports that Botswana recently killed over 1 600 out of the 2 000 targeted cattle following an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the country’s zone 7 area close to the border.

Boithutso Rabasha, spokesperson for Botswana’s Ministry of Agriculture, told Mmegi newspaper on Tuesday that Botswana’s permanent secretary and director of veterinary services was recently in Zimbabwe to officially present the offer to vaccinate cattle along the border.

“The offer was made because the disease spreads from Zimbabwe in most cases,” she said. Rabasha said Zimbabwean authorities were receptive to the idea and “we will see where we can go with it” .

Efforts to get a comment from Zimbabwe’s Veterinary Services director, Dr Obatolu Ushewokunze, were fruitless yesterday as she was said to be holed up in a meeting the whole day.

The Botswana government has appealed to its local farmers not to hire herdsmen from settlements close to the border with Zimbabwe because they go back and forth every day prompting their cattle to cross into Zimbabwe with them.

The government urged farmers to report any livestock that strayed into Botswana from Zimbabwe and vice-versa.

Veterinary officers in Botswana are reportedly paying P1 700 compensation for farmers whose beasts would have been shot during the operation. “Obviously we cannot give the meat to people. So we bury them,” said Rabasha.

The Botswana government is considering having a 10 kilometre buffer zone from the borderline to the nearest villages to enhance control of cattle movements.

Fenced community farms are another measure that could be introduced to prevent free movement of cattle in and out of Botswana.

“If there are fenced community farms, we will be able to tell exactly where the outbreak started and thus control it quicker because cattle movements will be restricted,” Rabasha said.

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