Agriculture Business Climate Health

Climate change a threat to animal health

Chief Murambwa receives January disease tick grease from Permanent secretary dr J Bhasera

By Aaron Charungwa Moyo

Climate change has proved to be a hazard to animal health in Zimbabwe, Director of Veterinary Field Services, Dr. Jairus Machakwa has said.

“Climate change is distorting the epidemiological picture of January disease as this disease used to be confined to high rainfall regions”,

This sentiment is a testament to the economic losses suffered by cattle producers in Zimbabwe as a result of deaths brought on by tick-borne diseases, which are common among livestock owners in Africa.

Climate change has created a number of threats to Zimbabwean national cattle herds due to rising temperatures and high rainfall, thereby reducing their survival rates.

Some of the challenges and changes in animals are noted as a result of less food, less successful reproduction, and interference with the environment.

“The movement of cattle from one region to another contributes to the spread of diseases from one location to another because farmers move with their beasts and their ticks, and most diseases are tick-borne.

“The disease is transmitted from tick to animal and then from animal to tick, resulting in a different geographically located tick infected with a disease that is known to be geographically located in a specific area”, Dr. Machakwa said.

The diseases known to have been prevalent in Zimbabwe are both zoonotic and non-zoonotic infectious diseases like anthrax, foot-and-mouth (FMD), heartwater, rabies, and theileriosis – popularly known as January disease.

This publication gathered that farming activities around dip tank sites are common in resettlement zones due to illegal settlers resulting in human animal conflicts.

The Chief Environment Health Inspector in the veterinary services department for Mashonaland West province, Mr. Thomson Sabashau said, “There must be a 4-hectare area around the dip tank site that is free from any human activity such as farming. The dip tank must be allocated its own space.

“However, we are thankful to the Government because they provided us with enough dip tank rehabilitation equipment.”

Mr. Sabashau stated that a farmer must dip all animals at the right dose, at the correct strength and intervals, and that a substantial area is required for attaining such outcomes.

”The dip tank is our meeting place as farmers. Our animals need treatment and prevention. We do animal health education here and all other activities like branding start from here,” Mr. Sabashau said.

However Chief Murambwa expressed his worry about illegal land and space barons in the resettlement areas who are allocating land to people in grazing lands, water chains, areas reserved for animal movement, and near dip tanks.

“As the Chief, I offer individuals land in acceptable places and tell the council, which is the body in charge of keeping the database. Therefore, I ask all village chairmen and councilors in resettlements to report any fraudulent practices they may encounter”, Chief Murambwa said.

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende