What you need to know:
Livestock farmers in Gulu are stuck following a ban recently slapped on trade and transportation of animals after the outbreak of Foot-and-Mouth disease (FMD) in the district.
More than 50 animals have so far died across the district since the disease was reported on August 31.
The most affected sub-counties are Awach, Palaro and Paicho.
Ms Mandela Odong, the Oroko Village chairperson in Paicho, last week said more than 10 cows have died in three days and more than 200 are infected.
“We want the government besides imposing quarantine, to begin vaccination as soon as possible to save over 5,000 cattle in this sub-county,” he said.
Mr George Bongomin, a cattle farmer in Ongedo, said he lost five cattle in two days. “I found five animals dead and about 10 are critically sick, I noticed some cows were limping a week ago before the mortality came in. This is frustrating after struggling for years to keep cattle,” Mr Bongomin said.
He, however, blamed the disease on the influx of pastoralists who entered the area illegally without their animals being screened by the district veterinary department.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries imposed quarantine on the district following the outbreak of FMD.
In a September 3 letter, a copy seen by Daily Monitor, Dr Anna Rose Ademun, the commissioner for animal health, tasked local authorities and security agencies to enforce the ban.
“Movement of cattle, goats, sheep, pigs and their products and by-products from, to, through and within the affected areas are restricted until further notice. Livestock markets, slaughter places are hereby closed with immediate effect,” the letter reads in part.
“The local administrations, district veterinary officer, LCs, chiefs, enforcement personnel and the general public is required to enforce the restrict as per the attached guidelines for controlling animal movements during the quarantine restrictions,” she added.
Dr Alfred Opiyo, the district veterinary officer, confirmed the development at the weekend.
“The situation is under control, the enforcement teams have been deployed, especially in the most affected areas. We have received more than 4,000 doses of vaccines for the animals in the three sub-counties to control the disease,” Dr Opiyo said.
He said as of Friday, at least 2,000 head of cattle in the sub-counties had been vaccinated.
“We call upon the communities to protect their animals, inform the veterinary department once they see signs and symptoms of the infections. We also warn them against eating the carcass or infected animals,” Mr Opiyo said.
The disease first broke out in Nwoya District in June, claiming more than 100 head of cattle. The district veterinary team first detected the outbreak on June 18 at Pa Min Owot community grazing area in Agung Village in Anaka Town Council as well as Patira West Village in Purongo Sub-county in Nwoya. It is suspected that the outbreak may have stemmed from the neighbouring Murchison Falls National Park from wild animals or ferried in from the neighbouring districts. Dr Isaac Mayende, the veterinary officer for Purongo Town Council, said the sight of an antelope in one of the kraals at Patira Village was suspected by residents to be a source of the outbreak. “The antelope later died, but we made a quick response to confirm the situation by testing and confirming the infection,” he said.