Promoting animal health awareness would help livestock farmers

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Nowadays, there are a host of animal diseases that can be classified as emerging, endemic, zoonotic, re-emerging, and pandemic diseases. Some can have a huge impact on livestock production and productivity; some can harm human health; while some can pose a problem for companion animals.
When it comes to the issue of outbreaks, we need to focus on their economic and trade impact; epidemic or pandemic potential in the region; zoonotic potential and public health impact; prevention, control, and mitigation; and, social, ecological, and environmental impact, in this order of priority.
We have seen the effect of animal disease on farmers when the deadly African Swine Fever (ASF) was reported in northern Shan State, in February this year, and in Mongla in eastern Shan State last year.
The ASF outbreak is of particular concern for small-scale farmers, who account for a significant proportion of pork production, as they may lack the expertise and funds necessary to protect their herds from the disease in a timely manner.
To curb the spread of the virus, the health authorities must enforce rules to ensure small-scale farmers put measures in place to adequately protect their herds from infection.
Myanmar has earned more than US$500 million from cattle exports to neighboring countries. To boost cattle exports to China, the two countries have agreed to work together on improving the health of animals exported to China. Meanwhile, Myanmar is implementing a cattle registration system as part of efforts to conserve our livestock resources.
While making efforts for boosting trade, it is crucial that the Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department focuses not only on prevention and control of livestock diseases, but also their socio-economic impact on both national and regional interests, with the relevant resource expertise and a logical approach.
It is necessary to expand research projects focusing on animal health, prevention, and treatment of diseases, conduct training, and produce quality breeds of animals.
We would like to urge animal health authorities to promote awareness among stakeholders in the livestock industry on transboundary animal diseases, and increase collaboration and knowledge-sharing among farmers.

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