Amid rising temperatures, dairy farmers in the district are worried about the animals that are yet to be vaccinated against the foot-and-mouth disease.
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A farmer with his LSD-infected cattle in Kalaburagi district, Karnataka - THE HINDU

The highly contagious viral disease of cattle resurfaces during summer. The animal husbandry department is ready to start the annual vaccination programme, but is awaiting vaccine stocks.

Radhakrishnan of Veerapandi, who owns 22 cows, said the animals have not been vaccinated in the last two years. “The animals are usually vaccinated during February and March. Though the department launched the drive last year, it was stopped mid-way and my farm missed out on the vaccine. This year also, there is no information if the vaccination drive will take place,” he told TOI.

Devaraj of Madhampalayam, owner of 60 cows, said all the animals were vaccinated last year. “This year, I bought the medicine and administered it with the help of my veterinarian as I saw no signs of the vaccination programme starting. With such a large farm, I couldn’t take the risk.”

The disease also affects pigs, sheep and goats. “Infected animals develop sores on their tongue and legs, stop taking food and water and become dehydrated,” said Radhakrishnan, who had a couple of his cows infected four years ago.

The government has not given the drug and green signal to start vaccination programme this year, said animal husbandry department officials. “We had submitted an action plan, but think the Covid-19 situation is delaying it,” said a director of animal husbandry department.

“We have 98 dispensaries to vaccinate 2.36 lakh cattle in the district. We can finish the programme in one month — 21 days intense vaccination and nine days to mop up remaining farms and animals,” he added.

Nominations are open for Fonterra’s board election but a repeat of the drama that rocked the vote three years ago can be ruled out.

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