UPND chairman for agriculture, food and water development Levy Ngoma says the action taken by government to slaughter animals belonging to a farmer of Pemba is Southern Province is cruel and heartless.
And NDC member of the central committee for agriculture and livestock Axon Kaonga says government has failed to effectively prevent Foot and Mouth Disease and provide adequate funding to deploy more extension officers countrywide.
On Sunday, Choma’s Byta FM reported that the district veterinary office slaughtered 32 heads of cattle, 28 sheep and 11 goats all valued at K138,000, which were suspected to be from Foot and Mouth Disease affected zones.
But Ngoma in a statement stated that government’s move underscored the PF’s ignorance on managing the complex field of agriculture, which had totally collapsed in Zambia.
He condemned the indiscriminate mass slaughter of so many animals belonging to one individual as excessive, inhuman and uncalled-for.
“The action taken by government against Mr Keme Syantumbe of Pemba, who was transferring his livestock to Mumbwa via Macha in Choma District, is not only cruel and heartless, but also underscores PF’s ignorance on managing the complex field of agriculture, which has totally collapsed in Zambia. While the UPND does not condone lawless activities by citizens, and while the party further appreciates the seriousness with which livestock owners must adhere to regulations that govern stock movement in the period of a disease outbreak, we, however, believe that the indiscriminate mass slaughter of so many animals belonging to one individual is excessive, inhuman and uncalled for,” Ngoma stated.
“The Animal Health Act 2010, sections 23 and 24 and other related sections of the same law provides alternatives that include quarantine and other penalties to the owner of the animals suspected to be carriers of the outlined animal diseases. In view of the foregoing, the UPND believes government should have used discretion in exploring already available means of lawful sanctions provided for by the above Act without exposing and condemning this farmer to the punishment that will lead him and his family to perpetual poverty and misery.”
Ngoma stated that government should have undertaken a massive vaccination campaign around the country if it genuinely cared for livestock farmers.
“If PF was a serious government that genuinely cares for livestock farmers, Foot and Mouth Disease would not have broken out in the first place. Government would have undertaken a massive vaccination campaign around the country after an infected herd of buffalos that had been gifted to a foreign Head of State (eSwatini) was rejected by that country and shipped back to Zambia after it was discovered that it was infected by the deadly disease. eSwatini is thousands of miles from Zambia, and yet the infected donated buffalos were not slaughtered in eSwatini, but sent back to its country of origin – Zambia! That was a humane and a reasonable act! However, instead of slaughtering the infected buffalos to avert an outbreak back here in Zambia, PF gave them to a political surrogate who in-turn, introduced them to local livestock in the Chisamba farming block, subsequently infecting the domesticated animals there and the rest of the country,” he recalled.
And Ngoma demanded that government must compensate the affected farmer whose animals had been destroyed in the fracas.
“Following this inhumane act, we demand that the PF government compensates the affected farmer for destroying his livelihood. We reiterate that another alternative punishment would have been used as opposed to the wholesome slaughter,” Ngoma stated.
Meanwhile, Kaonga stated that government had failed to effectively prevent Foot and Mouth Disease and provide adequate funding to deploy more extension officers countrywide.
“We, the National Democratic Congress Party (NDC), wish to condemn the mass slaughter of animals by the Department of Livestock. Whereas we do not encourage lawlessness, at the same time we do not elevate policy above humanity. Government has failed to effectively prevent Foot and Mouth Disease and provide adequate funding to deploy more extension officers countrywide leaving famers to fend for themselves and fight Foot and Mouth Disease. How, then, does government slaughter so many animals without establishing if they had Foot and Mouth Disease? Farmers have not produced enough crops that bring food on the table and help them send their children to school because of drought, hence the heavy dependence on animal husbandry,” stated Kaonga.
“The animals should have been quarantined, treated and thereafter allow the farmer to sell them. From the sales, government should have recovered its expenses and the fines slapped on the farmer. Though we are happy that the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries has lifted the ban on cattle movement, the advent of slaughtering animals simply because the law was broken is promoting poverty in Southern Province. We, therefore, urge the Ministry to simply charge the said individuals with simple fines and not to kill all their animals, the only source of livelihood, and send them into poverty,” appealed Kaonga.