Lumpy Skin Disease & Animal Welfare
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Lumpy Skin Disease & Animal Welfare

The World Animal Day - 22 gives an opportunity to improve the life of animals and particularly those suffering badly from LSD during the current outbreak

Post by PROF. MUJEEB FAZILI on Tuesday, October 4, 2022

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WORLD ANIMAL DAY

 

This year the Animal Welfare Day (AWD), 4th of October arrived amid Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) affecting large numbers of cattle, the most important food animal. H. Zimmerman organized the first AWD celebrations in 1925. The event became official and global around the same period the LSD was recorded (1929) for the first time in Zambia. In Kashmir, the viral outbreak occurred this year for the first time. The morbidity and the mortality reported elsewhere can be as high as 80% and 10% respectively.The sharp decline in the milk production (restoration taking months together), infertility, reduced quality of hides and the deplorable condition of the animals are some of the major economic concerns. The indirect expenses including vaccine cost and delivery, animal movement controls, diagnostic tests and the trade losses are also significantly high.

 

Animal welfare ranging from very poor to very good is the physical and mental state of an animal in relation to the conditions it lives and dies. The religious, ethical and moral considerations encourage everybody to take due care of at least the animals in their direct control. The welfare of the animals also affects human health, environment & biodiversity, trading and marketing of the animal products. Although being sentient; experience the emotional states of sorrow and joy, yet these creatures are not able to communicate and protest the way humans do under similar conditions.Taking undue advantage of this dumb identity, while using them extensively for own benefits, the welfare of the animals is generally ignored by the people.

 

In India, the presence of the LSD was confirmed in Orissa three years ago (2019). The current widespread outbreak in most of the states was not expected if timely and sufficient preventive measures were taken during the intervening period.Despite strenuous efforts for last several months by the field staff of Department of Animal Husbandry, Kashmir the disease has by now spread beyond the initially affected small areas. More than one dozen symptoms emanating simultaneously from several organs and body systems (skin and appendages, eyes, respiratory, digestive and locomotory systems) along with high rise in temperature result in severe distress and great pain in the affected animals; indicative of very bad welfare status. In fact, the five freedoms (four from- 1. hunger, thirst & malnutrition, 2. discomfort- thermal & physical, 3. pain, injury & disease, 4. fear & distress, and one to- express normal behaviours) used to assess the animal welfare are all badly affected during LSD.

 

At this point of time in this outbreak and taking the ‘Animal Welfare’ as priority, two suggestions need due consideration of the stakeholders:

  1. Although affected with the same disease (LSD), no two animals have similar physical, physiological and immunological status and they don’t live under identical conditions and therefore don’t require same prescription or management. It is therefore mandatory that only qualified veterinarians are allowed to clinically examine and prescribe medicines. Unfortunately, some farmers and the persons selling medicines are currently being advocated by someone through social media (Facebook) to provide treatment to the animals suspected of the LSD. Concerned authorities need to take the required steps in this direction.
  2. While prescribing medicines and making farmers aware of the preventive measures, the veterinariansneed not to stick simply to the symptomatic relief using drugs alone but recommend all the possible practices for improvingall the five freedoms of animal welfare.

 

At this juncture, if we remember, "There is not an animal that crawls on the earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, but they form communities like you. Nothing have we omitted from the Book, and they all shall be gathered to their Lord in the end" (Al-Qur'an, 6:38) and “Whoever is kind to the creatures of God is kind to himself.” (Hadith: Bukhari). Then Animal Welfare matters. The World Animal Day - 22 gives an opportunity to improve the life of animals and particularly those suffering badly from LSD during the current outbreak.

 

 

(The Author is Ex- Associate Director Research (AS), SKUAST-Kashmir. Email: fazili_mr@yahoo.co.in

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