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'Affected cattle not being cared for' Saturday, February 24, 2001
AHMEDABAD: Though the number of cattle which died in the quake is almost equal to the number of people who died in the quake, a precious little is being done for welfare of animals in the quake-affected areas.
An Ahmedabad-based Animal Help Foundation in association with World Society for Protection of Animals (WSPA), which was carrying relief operation for animals in the affected areas say the conditions of the animals is pathetic, to say the least.
The team's main concern was to take care of the animals which were directly affected by the quake as many of them lost their owners and their homes.
"Nearly 2,500 to 3000 cattle were herded in one single enclosure. So, as soon as there was an aftershock, there used to be panic among them leading to stampedes and further injuries to animals," says project manager of Asia WSPA Mike Pugh.
Apart from the casualties resulting due to injuries, more number of cattle are dying due to starvation. "On an average, nearly 20 cattle are dying everyday even now," says co-ordinator of Animal Help Foundation Rahul Sehgal.
Though they are supporting nearly 25,000 cattle, they believe it is just one per cent of the entire cattle population. Earthquake combined with the drought is leading to acute shortage of fodder there.
The team sent 20 tons of green fodder daily from Ahmedabad and are now thinking of increasing it to 40 tons for the next three weeks.
Foreign aid to the tune of $40,000 has already been procured, all of which will be spent on providing fodder.
"We will manage till the next three weeks, but after that government needs to take over as no NGO can provide relief on a long-term basis," believes trustee of AHF Shaan Zaveri. "Some time ago, the chief minister urged ministers to adopt a cow each. I think now is the time for all of them to do so," he says adding government needs to involve itself in a bigger way.
On the other hand, according to the animal husbandry department, there is no fear of major outbreak of any disease as the animals which died were healthy and they died mainly due to physical injuries and not any infectious disease.
However, veterinary experts fear that outbreak of a condition called Haemorrhagic Septicaemia, locally known as Galsundho, which occurs under severe stress condition is likely. The loss of owners and familiar habitat combined with low level of nutrition may lead to stress and thus to Haemorrhagic Septicaemia.
The disease is said to claim high morbidity and mortality among all age groups of cattle. The Department of Animal Husbandry is launching a massive campaign for vaccinating animals against this disease to nearly 2.6 lakh cattle population in Bhuj, Bhachau, Anjar, Rapar and Mundra in Kutch.