The increasing drug resistance among herds in Bunyoro region and the neighbouring districts has raised the eye brows of herders saying the recurrent phenomenon has become a challenge to them.
The cattle farmers say their efforts to have increased quality and quantity production through applied veterinary practices like treating their herds are being frustrated after realising that despite their determination to adhere to professional advice, they are not attaining any success in their endeavours.
The perplexed farmers have in the recent past been engaging veterinary officers and the National Drug Authority (NDA) in Hoima city seeking their timely intervention over the matter.
In response, the NDA conducted investigations to ascertain the facts of the claims, ultimately discovering numerous challenges in the animal husbandry sub sector.
The operation conducted in the area saw 20 veterinary drug outlets closed over non compliance with the required standards for veterinary drug dealing.
During a press conference held at the NDA offices in Hoima, Mr Christopher Luzinda, the Authority’s Western Uganda Regional Manager, said the 20 closed outlets are part of the 137 drug outlets so far inspected.
He told journalists that during the same operation mounted to clamp down on illegal veterinary care operators, 10 boxes of expired veterinary drugs and another 15 boxes of illicit assortment were also impounded.
The Authority is coming down hard on illegal drug dealers in Hoima, Masindi, Kakumiro, Buliisa, Kibaale, Kyankwanzi, Kagadi, Kiryandongo and Kiboga districts.
Mr Steven Ssebukalu, an NDA enforcement officer said the Authority also identified quack drug dealers and a growing culture of herdsmen treating animals on their own after procuring medicines from drug shops, ignoring veterinary advice in a bid to maximise profits.
Such a practice is a danger ending up into the consumer’s mouth. It causes poor production and deadly health complications both to the animals and consumers through the food value chain.
Ms Evelyn Kizige Busiinge, the Hoima District Assistant Chief Administrative Officer, expressed fear that the whole society will be exposed to chemicals if all stakeholders do not urgently join hands to fight such dangerous practices in this sensitive industry that people of all ages interact with more often with some on a daily basis.
Mr Patrick Ntulume, the Hoima District Veterinary Officer, urges all herders to always consult either his office or NDA to be guided on the best practices and access to authorised drug dealers to avoid procuring counterfeit drugs from quack operators.
The veterinarian also said he could not ignore the growing danger of drug resistance that is threatening not only animal products but also a great danger to humans who consume them.
According to him, the battle against illicit practices in animal husbandry can only be successful if members of the community and different government and non government stakeholders rise up in solidarity.
Mr Charles Mubala, the officer in charge of operations at Hoima police station said that the line authorities are determined to arrest and charged whoever is involved in veterinary drug abuse or sale of any illegal products on the market since it is a matter of life and death.
He also called upon community members to cooperate and report to police any such cases identified in their areas.