Foot-and-mouth outbreak


HARARE - Beef shortages are set to intensify in the coming weeks amid reports a deadly strain of foot-and-mouth disease is rapidly spreading to several parts of Zimbabwe a veterinary officer said this week.
The detection of the disease comes a week after government's populist policy of

slashing prices sparked a critical shortage of beef as farmers held on to their cattle protesting against selling prices of Z$5 million per beast.
While it was not possible to obtain official comment from Stuart Hargreaves, the director of the government’s Veterinary Services, industry officials told The Zimbabwean that the disease had been identified at six properties, five belonging to the Cold Storage Company, while the sixth is a private ranch.
At least 100 farms, involving 100,000 animals have been inspected since the outbreak was detected last week.
Farming officials said the outbreak was a result of new farmers pulling down perimeter fences, leaving cattle to mingle with wild animals. The infections had resulted from contact between with buffalo. At least 7,000 head of cattle are to be destroyed in an effort to contain the outbreak.

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