Veterinary Dept to use vaccine bait to vaccinate strays

Dr Quaza (left) showing the department’s report to Uggah.

KUCHING, Feb 14: The Veterinary Services Department has proposed using baits laced with anti rabies vaccine to vaccinate stray dogs.

Its director-general Datuk Dr Quaza Nizamuddin Hassan Nizam said such methods can be used in areas with many stray dogs and hard to reach areas.

He added that the vaccine baits will be used alongside existing strategies in the ongoing anti rabies operation.

“We are already in the process of buying these vaccine baits. The department will also observe the impact and how the vaccine baits can affect dog immunisation,” he said during a courtesy call on Sarawak deputy chief minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas here today.

Uggah, who is also the state Natural Disaster Management Committee chairman, said the state government will support the department in the effort to combat rabies.

On a different note, Dr Quaza praised the state’s aggressive approach to increase cattle farming in its effort to boost beef production.

Uggah, who briefed the national veterinary director on the state’s cattle farming, said Sarawak was committed to boost production considering the availability of land and huge demand for beef.

In addition, Sarawak is free of the Foot and mouth Disease, continued the Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Minister.

“Towards this end, we are getting our land development authority like Salcra (Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority) and big oil palm companies like Ta Ann, Rimbunan Hijau and Dafa to integrate cattle breeding in their plantations.

“The projection is to produce 1,000 calves per year, which we will further distribute to others interested,” Uggah said.

According to Dr Quaza, the country was expecting to face a serious issue in beef production by 2035.

“We do not have the breeder population now and we need to have at least 200,000 heads in the national herd each year for the next five years to stop the decline.

“Now Malaysia is only producing 50,000 but importing 150,000 metric tonnes of beef yearly,” he said.

The Veterinary Services Department proposed three models to especially big oil palm companies involved in cattle farming.

He suggested the companies can set aside a certain portion of their land for cattle rearing or rent out the land to breeders who can manage the operations in a more systematic manner, while being supervised by the department.

“We are looking at offering them a rebate, tax incentive, and others to motivate them,” he continued.

Dr Quaza said there were a total of 5.9 million hectares under oil palm in the country inclusive of the two million in Sarawak.

He also commended bird’s nest industry in the state, which have big potential. He said the state should develop more entrepreneurs in the industry, as the environment in peninsula was less conducive amid development activities.

On the African Swine Fever (ASF), Dr Quaza said it was very crucial for the state Veterinary Services Department to continue carry out strict surveillance and be vigilant to stop the spread of the disease in the state.

“Many countries in our region are now affected and the risk of spreading to Malaysia is real. From the Asian experience, it was acknowledged the main mean of ASF transmission was through the feed.

“We are particularly concerned with the backyard farming and those done by longhouse folks. We fear that the food waste fed to the pigs might contain pork products from affected animals,” he continued. — DayakDaily