Vet speaks on mass goat slaughter
Gweru (New Ziana) – The Veterinary Services Department said on Thursday the confiscation and mass slaughter of 81 goats intercepted in Selous en route to Harare without valid translocation permits had been done to prevent the spread of livestock diseases.
Under the law, livestock can only be moved from one area to another after obtaining police and veterinary permits, a measure put in place to control animal diseases.
Livestock movement from areas infected by diseases, called red zones, is strictly prohibited.
A few days ago, a man was intercepted in Selous with 81 goats from Gokwe, taking the animals to Harare without either a police or veterinary permit.
The area where the goats were sourced is a red zone.
His permits were from Gokwe to Kwekwe, presumably another red zone, but he allegedly attempted to smuggle the goats further to Harare without police or veterinary greenlight.
Veterinary officials impounded and slaughtered the goats, prompting an outcry from the public.
But Mashonaland West provincial veterinary officer, Thokozani Mswela said the reason for the confiscation and subsequent slaughter of the animals, while appearing cruel and unreasonable, was noble from a health point of view.
“It is unfortunate. We do not celebrate when we apply for a destruction or disposal order (to destroy animals) but when people are caught on the wrong side of the law, it becomes mandatory that the law should be implemented as it is,” he said.
“They were asked to produce the relevant papers but they failed. It is a mandate for all animals being moved in Zimbabwe from one point to the other to have a movement permit. In this case, they were caught breaking the law and a destruction and disposal order was applied for, and approved for the 81 goats,” he added.
Mswela dismissed claims by some members of the public that some of the meat might have been retained by veterinary officers for consumption.
“We had to make sure we destroy all the 81 goats so that we do not leave any infectious material risking the area around Chegutu. We made sure everything was destroyed so that there was no possibility of disease spread because these goats were coming from a red zone in Gokwe, making them high risk for spreading foot and mouth disease,” he said.