Given the importance of animal disease control thus, safeguarding global food safety and animal health through the implementation of International Standards for better agricultural practices, the Veterinary and Livestock Division will hold a series of animal health outreach clinics throughout the tri-island state in 2020.
The division recognises the importance of monitoring animal health and preventing animal disease outbreaks and its impact on the economy and safety of the country. Hence, this year’s focus will be on best practices in the prevention and control of priority diseases and animal health.
“The aim of these clinics is to provide good quality veterinary and livestock services to farmers and animal owners. The ministry also sees this as an opportunity to strengthen the relationships with the farming community and animal owners,” said Acting Chief Veterinary and Livestock Officer, Dr Kimond Cummings.
The nationwide drive for 2020 commenced with the first Animal health Outreach clinic at the Woburn playing field on Tuesday, 21 January 2020. Officers of the Veterinary and Livestock Division collaborated with officers of the Southern Agricultural District in offering rabies vaccination, deworming medication, wound management, hoof trimming, and best management tips to residents of Woburn and surrounding areas.
Yolande Lord Telesford, Livestock Specialist, attached to the Southern Agricultural District also spoke of the importance of the initiative. “What we have realised is that in this area, a lot of people in the community practice tethering. Based on the number of animals in this area, some of them have one or two animals tied in the same location, which allows for cross-contamination and cross infestation. This is why we went out prior to the clinic to speak to the animal owners to get an idea of their challenges in caring for their animals. It was based on their responses that we saw it fitting to have the clinic in this area.”
Farmer, Eunice Nelson, who got her 43 animals treated expressed appreciation. “I am really thankful for this exercise, right now I do not have to purchase as much medication for my animals or pay a veterinarian to deal with all these animals. I won’t have to worry about the rabies virus that much, as with the dry season mongoose normally run in and out of the land.”
Dr Cummings said that the series of clinics provide an opportunity for officers to explain the diseases and issues affecting livestock and other animals to farmers and animal owners. “As a ministry, this provides us with an opportunity to establish what is on the ground, as a result, we would be able to improve on our prevention and eradication efforts. We would be better equipped to develop a working plan, to execute in case an outbreak arises.”
He added, “The ministry is investing heavily in these programmes because we understand the needs of those farmers, thus ensuring that they have technical assistance and other services.”
During the outreach clinics, animals will be given preventive vaccines, treatment for internal and external parasites, while providing an opportunity to educate animal owners and farmers on at home and on the farm care and nutrition.