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Extreme cold kills hundreds of cattle; thousands at risk in Paraguay and Chile

Friday, July 23rd 2010 - 00:14 UTC
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Most cattle dead in Paraguay are calves which suffered a hypothermic shock Most cattle dead in Paraguay are calves which suffered a hypothermic shock

Cattle breeders in Paraguay and Chilean are suffering the consequences of a particularly severe austral winter which has killed hundreds of cattle and threatens the lives of tens of thousands more.

Paraguay’s president of the Food Quality and Animal Health Service, Daniel Rojas said on Thursday that at least 2.300 head of cattle have died in the land-locked country because of extreme low temperatures caused by a polar wave covering most of the continent’s southern cone.

Rojas made the official announcement during Paraguay’s main annual livestock exhibition, Expo-2010, in the outskirts of the capital Asunción.

He discarded any pathogen agent involved in the losses and added the government will help to incinerate and bury the carcasses of the dead animals.

“They are mostly calves from the Brahman breed, (prevalent in Paraguay) and a few sheep”, said Rojas who added that “even some fish died in frozen ponds, something which at the Office the old staff don’t recall”.

Rojas said that losses involve 87 farmers in eight different counties, from the south to the north of the country, “which means the whole geography and let me tell you our veterinarian staff were quick to react and have taken samples and necropsies on the field for testing”.

“Only erosions and injuries were found in lungs and not in other organs. Lungs were exposed to a hypothermic shock; that is very low temperatures. No sickness or diseases were detected in lab tests”, underlined Rojas.

Meantime in Chile, Marcos Peede, president of the Austral Breeders and Farmers Organization warned that 100.000 cattle in the south could starve or die of hypothermia because of the persistent extreme cold weather.

“We have 100.000 head of cattle, which includes bovines, sheep and horses exposed to vital risk. There are areas that can’t be reached with fodder and we have reports of deaths of animals”, said Peede.

Freezing temperatures, polar gusts and the greatest snow fall in three decades are threatening the Aysen area which the Chilean government had declared under agriculture emergency.

“There are areas which remain isolated and have been with no power for nine days; this is really alarming for cattle can’t be fed or giving shelter”, said Peede.


Categories: Economy, Latin America, Paraguay.

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