The foot-and-mouth outbreak affecting farm animals in Rodrigues might be completely eradicated in three years’ time. It comes with a plethora of related issues, from the need to vaccinate uninfected animals to concerned importers from Mauritius asking for compensation. Mauritians are also worried because of the imminent Muslim festival that is marked by the solemn slaughter of cattle.
The first case was detected in Rodrigues a month ago, on July 7. However, it was only confirmed later as the veterinarian service of Rodrigues had not yet diagnosed the disease; it only happened after 32 cases were recorded. Now, we have around 500 such cases in Rodrigues, explains Minister Seeruttun at the National Assembly, today, August 9.
The minister says that the cause of the epidemic is not yet known. It is suspected, though, that the outbreak resulted from infected meat transported by individuals travelling on yachts. Infected animals in Rodrigues are being killed while those testing negative for the disease are being vaccinated. The vaccination campaign will be lasting for a period of three years after which it is hoped that the viral epidemic will have died out. Furthermore, the farms from where the infected animals come will be kept under close surveillance.
The repercussions of the epidemic have been felt in Mauritius as well. A cargo loaded with farm animals left Rodrigues for Mauritius a while ago, and upon arriving at the port, it was kept isolated while samples were sent for testing to detect any infected animal. Later on, the imported cattle were slaughtered at a quarantine facility at Richelieu, and all animals found within 3 kilometres of the site of slaughter were to be vaccinated. It is to be noted that a ban has been imposed on the import of cattle from Rodrigues. Meanwhile, the testing is being done in France and in South Africa – the results thereof will be known shortly, and this will hopefully shed light on the matter and its cause, says minister Seeruttun.
Also, Mauritian importers had previously asked for a compensation from the authorities, explaining that they had already spent money to be able to bring the animals to the country. Now, it has been confirmed that a compensation will be given to importers and owners whose animals have been slaughtered. Still, why has the cargo in question left Rodrigues when it should not have done so? According to the minister, Rodrigues authorities have not yet answered to this query.
Now, how will Muslims celebrate Eid-al-Adha in Mauritius if farm animals from Rodrigues are being affected by contagious foot-and-mouth disease? Minister of Agro-Industry Mahen Seeruttun has reassured the population that there will be no lack of animals to be slaughtered for the festival.