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HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times
Srinagar, October 28, 2013
Highlighting the significance of zoonosis in the present scenario, chief minister Omar Abdullah on Monday called for unified approach by the medical and veterinary fraternities to focus on restricting transmission of diseases from animals to human beings.
"Ensuring rearing of disease free and healthy livestock and studying the effects of antibiotics on animals would help in a bigger way to check the transmission of diseases," he said, adding that sheep and animal products have become part of human DNA nowadays and there is an urgent need to look into this aspect seriously and make certain that livestock population is healthy and fit for human consumption.

Addressing a two-day national-level conference on 'CVE microbiology/endocrinology update' organised by J&K Veterinary Doctors Association in collaboration with department of animal husbandry here, the chief minister said the role of veterinary faculty is of vital importance to address the issue of infestation travelling from animals to humans.

Omar Abdullah said the concept of superbugs is a reality and now attracting attention of scientists all over the world. "You cannot shy away from the importance of this aspect as also the fact of diseases travelling from animals to human," he underlined and laid stress to deliberate on these issues threadbare in the conference and came up with sound suggestions to address these in a befitting manner.

Describing animal rearing most important economic activity, Omar Abdullah said the huge chunk of population in Jammu and Kashmir derives livelihood and sustenance from this sector by way of producing meat, eggs, milk, wool and other products. He said veterinary doctors and other staff associated with sheep and animal rearing have vital role and responsibility in strengthening and upgrading this sector by ensuring health care coverage of the livestock population of entire Jammu and Kashmir state.

"It is easy to visit the ailing animal at its place than to carry it to the veterinary centre," he said, elaborating that his government recognising this fact, has approved launch of mobile veterinary centres on the pattern of mobile schools in the state. He said the said mobile veterinary centres would be well-equipped with all required men and medicine to cater to the needs of livestock population, especially in far-flung and remote areas.

He said the movement of these centres would be on dedicated routes providing a time-bound calendar to the villagers and animal rearers about their movement and hours of stay in the particular village. "This would enable the animal rearers to get medical treatment of the livestock at their doorsteps," he said.

Pinpointing the potential of animal rearing in Jammu and Kashmir, the chief minister said this is the only sector, which could generate sufficient raw material locally and possesses readymade market. "As of now, we are importing mutton, milk, eggs and other animal products from other states in huge quantity when we can ourselves produce these in abundance," he said and emphasised on the need of focusing on this area to reduce the dependence on outside markets.