Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday launched the National Animal Disease Control Programme (NADCP), aimed at eradicating foot and mouth disease (FMD) and brucellosis in livestock.
India has the world’s largest livestock population of 125-crore plus heads, but cattle productivity is low, and animal diseases are a major concern. The diseases have resulted in some overseas markets being shut to Indian dairy and meat products, and prevented the industry from realising its income potential.
NADCP: According to a government release, the programme aims to vaccinate over 500 million livestock heads, including cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats and pigs, against FMD, and some 36 million female bovine calves annually against brucellosis. The programme has received 100% funding from the Centre, amounting to Rs 12,652 crore for five years until 2024, the release said. The NADCP aims to control these two diseases by 2025, and to eradicate them by 2030.
FMD: It is a highly infectious viral disease of cattle, swine, sheep, goats, and other cloven-hooved ruminants. FMD is generally not fatal in adult animals but leaves them severely weakened, and results in a drastically reduced production of milk and can, therefore, be financially ruinous for dairy farmers. Infected animals get a fever, sores in their mouth, on their teats, and between their hooves. FMD spreads through excretions and secretions; infected animals also exhale the virus.
According to the World Organisation for Animal Health, the intergovernmental organisation responsible for improving animal health worldwide, FMD is endemic in several parts of Asia, most of Africa, and the Middle East. Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Central and North America, continental Western Europe, and most Latin American countries are FMD-free.
Measures to stop outbreaks and check FMD transmission include controlled introduction of new animals into existing herds, regular cleaning and disinfection of livestock areas, monitoring and reporting of illness, and use of effective vaccination strategies.
Brucellosis: This is a zoonotic disease that, according to the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, is endemic in most parts of the country. Brucellosis causes early abortions in animals, and prevents the addition of new calves to the animal population.
The control the disease, the World Health Organisation recommends the vaccination of cattle and, in some cases, testing and culling. The government told Parliament in July that the Brucellosis Control Programme component of the NADCP envisages 100% vaccination coverage of female cattle and buffalo calves (4-8 months of age) once in their lifetimes.