Cows from Down Under spread deadly bovine diarrhoea here
Posted on June 17th, 2019

By Rathindra Kutuwita Courtesy The Island

A large number of high- yielding milch cows, imported from Australia, in 2017, were suffering from Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD), hitherto not found in Sri Lanka, and officials had failed to stop the spread of the disease, the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) probing allegations of large scale corruption between January 15, 2015 and December 31, 2018 was informed yesterday.

Dr. Hemal Kothalawala, Veterinary Research Officer of the Livestock Ministry informed the Commission that BVD could be transmitted in several ways. “We still cannot prevent the spreading of the virus because the government failed to take timely action to send the diseased cows back to the supplier.”

After the cows were brought to Sri Lanka, they were handed over to the middle-scale dairy farmers in a number of areas around the country before the end of the quarantine period. Kothalawala added that they had found several cows with the BVD when they commenced investigations.

“A large number of cows tested positive for BVD virus during preliminary investigations and some of them had died before second stage of testing.”

Dr. M.D.N. Jayaweera, Director, Animal Health informed the PCoI that during tests they had identified that most cows were sick but the government failed to take necessary action to halt the spread of the virus across the country.

It was revealed earlier that the government had distributed 3,030 substandard imported Australian cows among 46 investors and dairy farmers had been eligible to receive high-yielding imported pregnant cows in 2017, Amal Suriyage of the Lammermoor Estate in Maskeliya

In 2017, the Ministry of Rural Economic development started to import 20,000 cows from Wellard Rural Exports Pvt. Ltd., Australia. A number of dairy farmers have complained about the quality of the imported cows.

Dr. Herath said that the Ministry of Rural Economy had informed the investors that those pregnant cows would produce 20 litres of milk a day on average and had advised some of the investors, who were already raising cows to get rid of the Sri Lankan animals that they had. The investors paid Rs. 200,000 per cow and the government contributed Rs. 265,000. A number of cows had died, while a number of calves aborted or were stillborn, Suriyage said.

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