By Locadia Mavhudzi
The Veterinary Service Department has branded over 7 000 cattle in Shurugwi as Government moves to curb stock theft and illegal cattle movement.
The new branding exercise, which identifies cattle by their districts and owners using a monitored system, will enable the Government to control the outbreak of animal diseases.
Speaking during the branding exercise which is done in conjunction with the police, veterinary official Dr Munyaradzi Chigiji said more than 7 000 cattle had so far been branded.
He urged communal farmers to co-operate so that their animals can be positively identified in case of stock theft.
“We are working on cattle branding and so far we have completed Shurugwi District,” said Dr Chigiji. “We are endorsing specific codes on the animals so that they can be easily identified according to our animal register.
“Even if the animal is stolen, its origins can be detected. The aim is to brand all the cattle in the province and we will be working with farmers so that they co-operate.”
Dr Chigiji said the branding exercise was normally conducted in winter as animals may be subjected to septic wounds which may take some time to heal.
“Communal farmers are usually reluctant to bring their cattle for branding for fear of septic wounds, but this time the Government has availed some special medication to manage the condition,” he said.
Dr Chigiji said in the case of commercial farmers, the owners were managing their cattle well and Government will not be chipping in.
He said branding of cattle was not only done in Zimbabwe, but in the whole of the SADC region because of cross- border theft of livestock.
Meanwhile, the Midlands province has also been affected by the outbreak of theryliosis tick borne disease, especially along its borders with Masvingo and Mashonaland East.
“Yes, I can confirm that the province was affected, but to a minimal extent,” said Dr Chigiji. “Areas affected include Mvuma and Chirumanzu. However, we have since stopped the movement of animal and meat from those areas in order to contain the spread of the disease.”
Source : The Herald