THE Ghanaian Times yesterday reported of a looming animal health crisis at Dedenu, a farming community in the South Tongu District of the Volta Region which has killed over 30 cows in 10 days.
The disease has been nicknamed ‘suffer’ by the local cattle farmers due to the enormous pain it inflicts on the animal.
The disease is said to begin with swollen and bleeding hooves and later metamorphoses into dark spots on the animal leading to swelling of joints and tongue making the animal unable to feed and or drink water resulting in rapid weight loss.
According to the local farmers, this is not the first time the area has been hit by the strange disease. One of the cattle owners revealed that veterinary officers, two years ago, had come to take blood samples of affected animals for laboratory test but have not returned with the results.
As a result of the inability of the veterinary officials to furnish the farmers with findings of the previous outbreaks and how to combat same in the future, the farmers said they have not reported the current outbreak of the strange disease to the authorities. This is unfortunate.
The apparent loss of confidence in the authorities, we gathered, has led to the farmers resolving to manage the disease on their own leading to the casualties; the highest since the disease first broke out some six years ago.
Our fear is that some of the animals which might have been infected but may not have shown signs of the ailment could have been sold to unsuspecting members of the public thereby potentially increasing the health risks in the area.
This could have dire health implications for the general public if the disease makes the animals unwholesome for consumption.
We call on the Veterinary Service to quickly move into Dedenu and ascertain the situation for itself following admission by the District Director of Veterinary Services, Dr Jehadi Osei-Bonsu, that his outfit has not been informed about the disease.
Doing this would help quell any sinister move by the farmers to swindle the public by trading the infected animals since they would want to recoup some returns from the animals.
We are also praying the Veterinary Service to, at the end of its findings into the strange disease, roll out sensitisation programmes to educate farmers on what to do in the case of any outbreak.
The public must also be educated on whether the sick animals are wholesome for consumption.
A stitch in time, they say, saves nine.