Over 300 cows in Isingiro go blind over fake acaricides
300 cows are reportedly blind in Isingiro District after cattle keepers used unlicensed acaricides and concoctions that are believed to cause blindness and several other complications to cattle.
As a result, Dr Bruhan Kasozi, District Veterinary Officer noted that investigations by the National Drug Authority (NDA) are underway to establish whether the blindness was caused by the acaricide used on the livestock.
“We are still investigating together with NDA to find out if it is true that these animals are getting blind because of acaricides that are not licensed,” Kasozi said.
The investigation follows an appeal filed by Jeremiah Kamurari before the Ministry of Agriculture to rescue farmers from the trap, during a meeting of dairy farmers and veterinary drug shop operators in Kabingo Town Council, Isingiro District last week.
Kamurari in his remarks said that over 300 cases of blindness and 14 deaths are currently reported by the District Veterinary Department.
“Fake acaricides are being supplied through normal channels where farmers have been getting drugs; our cows are experiencing the unbelievable challenge of blindness,” Kamurari said.
He says the acaricides are concoctions of different types of pesticides and other things like tobacco which have adverse reactions on livestock which needs argent attention from NDA.
“We are wondering what the NDA is doing. They are sensitizing the good public but let them do enforcement,” Kamurari noted.
“Let us have arrests of these fraudsters, name and shame and follow up cases to the letter, this will cure the problem.”
Vincent Kayizi Magembe, the principal Regulatory Officer at NDA revealed that most of the fumigants are life-threatening chemicals which can cause cancer to humans if exposed to the skin because they are meant for hard surfaces, not the skin.
“Farmers are continuously using fumigants which are extremely dangerous because they are meant for hard surfaces and fumigation of insects such as cockroaches, mice and bed bugs,” Dr Kayizi said. “So, they can even cause cancer to humans and it is even indicated on the bottles.”
However, seven people were arrested by Police and NDA after they were accused of wrongly selling unregistered Tick Burn Spray to dairy farmers in western Uganda.
It’s alleged that they bought DD Force, Boom Super, and 2 – in-1 Ocelamectin, which are fumigants/pesticides, labelled them “tick burn spray” and sold them to livestock farmers.
Dr Jeanne Muhindo, the head of the veterinary at NDA faulted owners of the affected farms for not supervising their workers on the farm correctly which caused the mess.
“Most of the affected farms are of big people who are usually absentees on their farms. We interacted with their managers and they revealed that they have sometimes been forced to use these chemicals because they are expected to have zero ticks on the farms. So, they stealthily do it their bosses don’t know about it,” Muhindo said.