‘Govt must tighten laws on livestock movement’

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BY LORRAINE MUROMO
GOVERNMENT has been urged to tighten laws governing movement of livestock to mitigate theft and the spread of diseases.

Zimbabwe has recorded numerous cases of cattle rustling, which have resulted in communal farmers along the border with Botswana losing livestock.

Earlier this year, the Department of Veterinary Services ordered the incineration of six cattle in Matabeleland South province that had been moved from Figtree to Gwanda without a clearance permit, a move meant to contain the spread of foot-and-mouth disease.

Administrator in the Livestock and Meat Advisory Council Chrispen Sukume told NewsDay that although the country had laws to monitor movement of livestock, there was lack of consistency when it comes to implementation.

“It’s not like we do not have any laws. We have laws that the government has for the movement of animals but the implementation of those laws has been inconsistent and we are trying to close those loopholes,” Sukume said.

“There is legislation, for instance, to do with cattle identification so that we know that if this herd of cattle is coming from one area to another we know it has moved legitimately.”

He said there was a need to tighten legislation around livestock.

“One strategy which we have been talking about for quite some time is that when we capture information on animals that are coming from an area of origin; we need to have a more robust way of capturing that information so that it is shared with people monitoring the movement of cattle in the stated destination of the animals,” Sukume said.

“We can have a legitimate movement permit issued in Mt Darwin for cattle to move to Marondera and if in one or two days we discover that there was an outbreak of a particular disease in Mt Darwin, we have a way of stopping those animals from reaching their destination. This is something we really want to look at and see how we can
strengthen it.”

Sukume said there was a need to improve the monitoring process to weed out smugglers and those who forge papers.

“We need to work with the Department of Veterinary Services and the police so that we try to close those loopholes,” he said.

Disease control, he pointed out, was a key facet of livestock control and needed to be taken seriously.

“If we alleviate mortalities and morbidities of cattle we will grow our livestock sector,” Sukume said.

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