Cabinet Takes Measures to Pacify Farmers: Over 33,000 Animals Dead [Archives:1999/22/Front Page]

May 31 1999

Some 9,474 cattle, and 23,918 sheep and goats have died during the last 5 months, according to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture last month. The animals are infected with foot and mouth disease (FMD), a highly contagious viral disease causing fever, vesicules, bullae and blisters in the mouth, hoofs and on other parts of the animal. 
The ministry’s reports say that a total of 336,838 animals suffer from the disease. Ibb governorate is the worst case, accounting for almost 45% of the total cases. Other governorates affected include Hodeidah (18%), Abyan (10%), Taiz (9%), Dhamar (8%), and Mahweet (6%). 
The farmers are in an uproar. They have already stormed the ministry twice. Once, they left the cadavers of their dead animals at the ministry’s entrance. 
“We are not oblivious to the problem. The ministry has presented an urgent status report which was discussed by the cabinet in its meeting on May 26th,1999. It was the basis for important decisions,” said Mr. Abdul-Malik Al-Arashi, Deputy Minister of Agriculture. 
The cabinet decided to apply for Yemeni membership in the Office International des Epizootis, an anti-epidemic livestock world organization. “It also approved a 3-phase program for vaccination of Yemen’s livestock. About YR 60 million has already been allocated for the first stage of the effort,” the deputy minister said. 
Meanwhile, the only solution now is to quarantine the sick animals. Yemeni farmers fume with anger as they stand by helplessly and watch their animals die.