MASVINGO – Cattle farmer Onismo Mukumba lost 20 cattle after the Veterinary Services shot dead the livestock at his farm following an outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease recently.
The move has since been condemned by Masvingo Beef Producers' Association (MPBA) which said the vet department was not supposed to kill all the cattle since some had not been affected by the disease.
MPBA chairperson Robert Makado said the Vet department showed gross incompetence because they should have put various check points along the Masvingo-Beitbridge highway so that they could stop movement of cattle from the Foot and Mouth infested district of Mwenezi.
"While we are aware that there are shenanigans who move cattle illegally from quarantined zones, we have to be rational in our approach. Mukumba brought the cattle at his farm from Mwenezi in July and there is an outbreak three months later. Now the veterinary services officers jump from their comfort zones and killed the cattle and one would wonder where were they all along?" said Makado.
"The cattle should have been treated while at the farm or returned to Mwenezi rather than inflicting such a huge loss on a farmer," he added.
"If they do not do that, they will end up shooting all the cattle in the province and make farmers poor," said Makado.
When contacted for comment, Mukumba however maintains that he followed all the relevant procedures to clear the cattle through the Vet department before he transported the herd to his farm in Masvingo district.
"Everything was above board; the cattle were cleared by Vet before I transported them to my farm. I even secured a High Court order to stop them from shooting my cattle but when I arrived at the farm they had already shot 20," said Mukumba.
He later refused to comment further on the issue saying he was no longer interested to talk to the media.
Masvingo Veterinary Provincial Officer Ernest Dzimwasha was not reachable for comment by the time of going to print.news