Life no longer milk for Khulna cattle farmers as Razor disease spreads

Already reeling under COVID-19 woes, the outbreak of the Razor disease has dealt a crippling blow to cattle farmers in Khulna. The disease is spreading rapidly among cattle and has significantly hit the production of milk and meat in the five upazilas of the district, the farmers say.

Razor is an infectious disease that affects cattle, causing decreased appetite and weight loss and thus reducing their ability to produce milk. Calves can become diseased by drinking the milk of an infected mother, which is also considered unfit for human consumption.

The outbreak of the disease was first reported in August last year, soon after the Eid al-Azha festival. Since then, the farmers claim that the production of milk and meat has been tapered by 3,000 and 2,000 metric tonnes, respectively, a month, despite the local Livestock Service Department continuing to provide antidotes to resist the transmission of the disease.

Officials of the Livestock Department attribute the outbreak of the disease to Haryana spices cattle illegally brought from India during the Eid al-Azha festival. Around 1.18 crore bovines had been sacrificed then.

“The transmission of the disease also accelerated in the Khulna City Corporation areas, Terokhada, Phultala, Dumuria and Dighalia upazilas as many farmers had tied their animals in waterlogged areas during the monsoon. Anyway, our prompt measures prevented the outbreak from developing into an epidemic,” district Livestock Officer SM Awal said.

Last year, the Fisheries and Livestock Ministry urged the authorities concerned to stop the entry of cattle from neighbouring countries like India and Myanmar, on the grounds that Bangladesh had sufficient numbers to cater to domestic consumers.

Normally the district produces 2.5 lakh metric tonnes of milk and 1.54 lakh metric tonnes of meat every year, but in the past year, the disease has reduced the production to 36,000 and 24,000 metric tonnes of milk and meat, respectively, officials said.

Though the local administration has decided to compensate the affected cattle farmers, the latter claim “the stimulus is inadequate”. Moreover, only 616 are likely to get the government aid of the 7,500 poultry, dairy and cattle farmers in the district, they say.

Source: United News of Bangladesh