FMD in Paraguay: 168 livestock sacrificed and major investigation into previous outbreak
Paraguay veterinary services concluded Monday midday the termination of 168 livestock mostly belonging to a farm where an outbreak of foot and mouth disease was confirmed 2 January in the county of San Pedro to the centre north of the country.
According to the Animal health and food quality Service, Senacsa, 154 cattle from the “Nazareth” farm were sacrificed together with another nine and two hogs from neighbouring paddocks
Livestock were terminated with the so called ‘sanitary rifle’, manned by the Army, and later buried in a common grave a hundred metres long, three wide and four deep. The whole operation has the support from the Army and Police and equipment from the Public Works Ministry.
“Nazareth” is only 15 kilometres away from a farm where last September a first FMD outbreak forced the killing of 820 livestock.
Senacsa’s is working under the monitoring of the FMD Pan American Centre, Panaftosa, the World Health Organization, WHO, and the Inter American Institute for Agriculture Cooperation, IICA:
Last 4 January the Paraguayan government declared a state of animal sanitary emergency in the San Pedro region and activated the National Animal Sanitary Emergency System.
The issue was addressed by President Fernando Lugo during his weekly Monday ministerial cabinet meeting, since beef and soybeans are Paraguay’s main sources of income.
Paraguay is the world’s eighth beef exporter and has a national stock of 12.5 million head and will now have to wait another 18 months before it can recover the status of free of FMD with vaccination.
Brazil and Russia have said they will continue to purchase boneless, mature chilled beef from Paraguay, except from cattle from the affected area.
Paraguay with subtropical climate practices extensive cattle farming and it has now surfaced that the September FMD outbreak was allegedly manipulated “to avoid having to sacrifice 10.000 livestock” instead of the 820 which effectively were terminated.
At the beginning of last year the farm La Blanca SA had 10.400 heads of cattle in 10.000 hectares, but by the time the 22 September official FMD outbreak it had been split into three smaller farms with 4.546, 3.958 and Santa Helena with 820 livestock.
The FMD vaccination report does not mention the number of hectares for each of the three farms as it should have. The data emerges from the anti FMD vaccination reports from Senacsa.
Finally the 819 cattle of Santa Helena were exposed to the sanitary rifle, and not the rest of the original cattle, some of which it is now believed could have been exposed to FMD.
It is not quite clear what happened to the cattle from the other two farms apparently “liberated” once the sanitary rifle was implemented at Santa Helena.
The owner of La Blanca SA and the 10.400 cattle is none less that Silfrido Baumgarten, president of the San Pedro chapter of the Paraguayan Rural Association, the main farmers’ organization of the country.
Some local farmers’ organizations claim that Senacsa chief Dr. Daniel Rojas was aware of the manipulation but looked aside given family relations. According to the Paraguayan media an investigation into the incidents is under way following on specific instructions from President Lugo.
Cattle were buried in a hundred metres long, four metres deep trench