Stray dog population and rabies control programme was to be included as special national programme. It is now not because there is shortage of budget besides other issues to contend with.

Agriculture Minister Yeshey Penjor said this in response to how the government was going to address the issue of rising stray dog population.

Lyonpo Yeshey Penjor said that stray dog population and rabies control were a serious concern. “Initially, the ministry thought that the programme could be under the ministry’s flagship programme.”

Lyonpo said that if there were too many flagship programmes then the identity or the specialty of the flagship programme would be diluted. “If we propose too many flagship programmes, then it would be as good as the normal programme the ministry is undertaking so we dropped the programme from the flagship programme. But, this is going to come up as a special national programme.”

Lyonpo said that although there is no budget for the programme, the department of livestock has already framed a project proposal for this programme. “It is my responsibility to mobilise the resources for this.”

Lyonpo said that this, however, does not mean that the programme would not be considered less important. “There are so many ways and means to tackle the problems even without resources.”

“We will keep on working in whatever we can do, In the meantime, the ministry in collaboration with GNHC and finance ministry would look for funds and as pledged in DNT’s manifesto, we will definitely make this a special programme,” Lyonpo said.


Foot and mouth 


On the recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease in some dzongkhags, Lyonpo urged people not to panic and to consult with the livestock or BAFRA officials in the areas before they transport any dairy products including meat from one place to another.

Lyonpo said that the outbreak of foot and mouth disease was frequently reported not only in Bhutan but in other countries as well.

This year, the outbreak of the disease was reported in 24 gewogs in 13 dzongkhags.

Lyonpo said that the officials with the department of livestock have responded to the outbreak immediately and worked hard in containing the outbreaks of the disease.

In the last two months, foot and mouth disease was reported in 16 gewogs in seven dzongkhags. Lyonpo said that the livestock officials have managed to stop spreading of the disease. “The effort to contain the outbreak is in the process in about six gewogs.”

Lyonpo pointed out that notification by the BAFRA’s director general to its officials in the dzongkhags asking them to be vigilant for any signs of suspected bird flu across the border and their respective jurisdiction was being shared on social media.

Lyonpo said that the outbreak of the bird flu was reported in Odhisa, India. Currently, no outbreak has been reported in the country and the notification was to remind the officials to be cautious and the veterinary vigilance team to be ready if an outbreak is reported in the country.

“If we don’t manage bird flu than despite the distance, the flu can spread to far places in just a day or two,” Lyonpo said.

The spread of the notification on social media could make some people panic, Lyonpo said. “There is nothing to panic about instead people can help to stop spreading these outbreaks.”

“When people hear such news, what is important is for them to cooperate in containing the outbreaks by consulting with livestock officials before transporting the dairy products or products related to bird be it for business or for self-consumption,” Lyonpo said.

In the event of outbreak of the diseases in the country, Lyonpo said that rapid response teams were ready to manage the outbreak.

Dechen Tshomo