By Rohey Jadama
The Director General of the Department of Livestock Services has confirmed that they are aware of the death of a number of pigs in piggeries within the Kanifing Municipality and have constituted a team to investigate the cause.
Dr. Abdou Ceesay made this confirmation in an interview with this reporter in his office at Abuko yesterday, 7 October, 2014.
Foroyaa has reported the death of scores of pigs in places like Churchill Town, Kotu, and Old Jeshwang and have spoken to the owners of some of these affected piggeries who said they do not know what is responsible for the mass killing of their animals.
The Department of Livestock Services Director General said what should normally happen is that when such incidents occur, the matter has to be first reported to them by the concerned owners of the animals, but he lamented that he only got the report of the death of pigs in the Kanifing Municipality from other sources.
“As a technical department responsible for both the production and health of livestock, when such a case is reported to us, we would first investigate the cause of the death by taking the blood sample of the infected pig. The farmers are saying their pigs are dying without providing us with proof and as a responsible farmer, if you see your animal dying you should report it to the concern authorities. But this was not done,” said the DLS DG.
On the cause of the deaths, the Director General said they suspect it is the African swine fever which kills pigs in large numbers in an epidemic as is happening now.
He, however, said that if it is African swine fever the Gambia does not have the facilities and equipment to test it as it is only in South Africa where such a test can be done.
“There is no vaccine yet for the African swine fever and as such it is incurable, but as at now, I can’t tell you what is killing the pigs until our investigation is completed and the team presents a report,” said Dr. Ceesay.
On whether the deaths are only confined within the Kanifing Municipality, he maintained that it is the findings that can shed light on this.
“I’m therefore urging the farmers to minimize the spread of the disease by preventing the transfer of animals from one farm to the other as the suspected disease is very contagious,” he said.
He said they are working on the matter and will report their findings.
“African swine fever is a pig disease that is only confined to pigs and cannot be transferred to other livestock and you cannot get infected by eating the infected pork,” assured Dr. Ceesay.