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Ground Report: Animal ‘wealth’ falls victim to lumpy disease, leading to livelihood crisis

According to government figures, 14,045 animals have died and 3,10,460 animals are infected. Whereas the actual figures are much higher.

Report – Lalu Singh Sodha

Jaisalmer— There were once 20 cows and 7 calves in Madan Singh’s gawadi [space for cattle] in Parewar village, Jaisalmer district, Rajasthan, but today it is in ruins. Lumpy disease has killed 18 cows and the calves are left without their mothers. At the same time, his income from selling milk has also disappeared. In Kathodi Gram Panchayat near Parewar, Nem Singh is also in a similar situation. He had 26 cows and 10 calves in his gawadi, of which 15 cows have died due to lumpy disease. At the same time, the rest of the cows have the infection, which is being treated. Due to the sudden death of the animals, Nem Singh’s financial condition has also become shaky.

Madan Singh said, “I depended on the milk from the cows for my livelihood, along with which I also used to do some farming. Now I will have to focus all my attention on agriculture, because I will no longer be able to sell milk to make a living. With the one to two cows that have survived, there’s only enough to fill a child’s mouth. He added that the government should give compensation to cattle owners.”

Ravindra Singh Bhatti, a former president of Jai Narayan Vyas University student union and his team has been doing door-to-door vaccination for this disease that has spread among the animals. These teams are extending all possible help to almost every village in the Jaisalmer constituency assembly (Vidhan Sabha) area. He told The Mooknayak, “The situation is serious. In some places, our team came across calves simply waiting helplessly to die and at some places we saw piled-up corpses of the cows. Now the time has come to fight this lumpy disease together and save the cows. Everything cannot be left to the governments.”

About 14 districts of Marwarhave been battling against lumpy disease since the past five weeks. Lumpy is a contagious disease. Found mainly in animals, the disease is transferred from one animal to another by infection. In this disease, lumps [nodules] start appearing on the bodies of cows, buffalos or bulls. The lumps at first mostly appear on the genitals, and head and neck of the animals. After that they spread throughout the body. Then, gradually, the lumps start increasing in size. Over time, these lumps take the form of [open] wounds. In this condition, most of the animals have fever. Diary animals stop producing milk. Many of them also have abortions and even die.

Animals dying all the time

According to the figures released by the State Animal Husbandry Department, 14,045 animals have died so far, in which the highest number is of cows. At the same time, 3,10,460 animals are infected with the disease. Transmission of the disease has also been observed in wildlife, but their numbers are very small. The most numbers of cows, due to lumpy disease,have died in Sri Ganganagar (2,752), Barmer(1,657), Jodhpur (1,691) and Nagaur(1,280). But not even a single animal death has been reported in Banswara, Rajasmand, Pratapgarh and Dungarpur.

Panic among livestock farmers

At present, this disease has spread in Rajasthan in the areas of Jodhpur, Barmer, Jaisalmer, Jalore, Sirohi, Pali, Bikaner, Churu, Sri Ganganagar, Hanumangarh, Ajmer, Nagaur, Jaipur, Sikar, Jhunjhunu and Udaipur. Its maximum impact is being seen in the divisions of Jodhpur and Bikaner. At the same time, Udaipur and Ajmer divisions are also affected. Livestock farmers are in a state of panic due to the ever-spreading infection.

Government action plans

The union minister for animal husbandry, Purushottam Rupala visited Jaipur on Saturday to take stock of the situation in the disease-affected areas. He directed the department to keep infected animals in isolation and caution people against drinking milk from affected cows. Rupala told the media, “We are effectively promoting vaccination. The union and state governments are making every effort at their level so that it can be controlled in the other states alongside in Rajasthan.” “The state government is approaching the work with utmost seriousness. Several teams have reached the affected area in the past 15 days. Medicines and other resources are also being provided. Every effort is being made to save the cows,” Rajasthan Gau Seva Sangh president and Barmer MLA Mevaram Jain told The Mooknayak.

In the midst of this, Lokesh Sharma, the OSD [officer on special duty] to Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, tweeted that approval has been given for recruitment to 500 posts on a temporary basis in the districts affected by lumpy skin disease. The Chief Minister has given instructions to complete the recruitment process at the earliest. Two hundred veterinary officers and 300 livestock assistants will be recruited.

Ultimately, how to get of rid of lumpy?

First, as soon as the symptoms are spotted, the sick animal should be isolated. At the same time, separate arrangement should be made for the infected animal’s food and drink. Insecticides should be sprayed so that the animal is not bitten by mosquitoes or flies. For better immunity, the animal should be given a proper diet of food. Apart from this, a broad-spectrum antibiotic and a calcium injection can be given to the animal after consulting a veterinarian, which can also get rid of the disease to an extent.

Livestock as symbol of pride

In Rajasthan’s folk life, there are many such beliefs according to which several folk deities have committed themselves to protecting cows. In the area of ​​Marwar, the cow is synonymous with the family. The place where the cows rest is called gawadi, and in Marwargawadi also means family. It is also common for people to say, the gawadihas broken; the gawadi is not good, or that the gawadi is very well. Thus in Marwar, there is an emotional connection with the issue. Owning livestock here is a symbol of pride and prosperity.

History of lumpy disease

Lumpy skin disease was first reported in 1929 in Africa. The disease took hold in Greece and Turkey in 2015, Russia in 2016, and Afghanistan and China in 2019. It was in 2019 also that it reached India. By June 2020, this disease was causing havoc in Nepal, and in Taiwan and Bhutan in July 2020, and in Vietnam in October 2020. In January 2021, it was also spotted in the southern states of India such as Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The World Organisation for Animal Health has given this disease the status of notifiable animal disease. According to which, information of [presence of] this animal disease should be given to the organization immediately so that appropriate efforts can be instituted in time.

यहाँ हिन्दी में भी पढ़ें ग्राउंड रिपोर्टः लंपी रोग की भेंट चढ़ा पशु ’धन’, पशुपालकों के सामने आजीविका का संकट

[Story Translated By Lotika Singha]

The Mooknayak
The Mooknayakhttps://www.themooknayak.co.in
The Mooknayak is dedicated to Marginalised and unprivileged people of India. It works on the principle of Dr. Ambedkar and Constitution.

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