Though there are some antibiotics available to treat the disease, even then the animal (given the antibiotics) is considered a carrier of the disease. Hence, elimination is the only option left.(Representative image)
Though there are some antibiotics available to treat the disease, even then the animal (given the antibiotics) is considered a carrier of the disease. Hence, elimination is the only option left.(Representative image)

Dangerous for humans too, Glanders triggers mercy killing of horse

The Glanders and Farcy Act, 1899, gives the state government the right to destroy a horse, if it is diagnosed with the Glanders disease.
Hindustan Times, Lucknow | By Oliver Fredrick
PUBLISHED ON MAY 09, 2019 03:26 PM IST

The deadly Glanders disease, which is common among horses, mules and donkeys but is contagious and equally dangerous for humans too, reared its head in Bareilly district, leading to the mercy killing of a horse and earning only a day’s reprieve for another one as its owner cited his daughter’s wedding.

Officials and a team of veterinary experts associated with the animal husbandry department carried out the euthanasia of the first horse as per the Glanders and Farcy Act, 1899, on the outskirts of Bareilly in the presence of the owner Kishan Babu.

The Glanders and Farcy Act, 1899, gives the state government the right to destroy a horse, if it is diagnosed with the Glanders disease.

Lalit Kumar Verma, chief veterinary officer, animal husbandry department, Bareilly, said, “Both (horses) tested positive. Indeed, the situation is worrisome since there is no cure to the disease. Above all, it’s a zoonotic disease (can be transferred to humans).”

“Though there are some antibiotics available to treat the disease, even then the animal (given the antibiotics) is considered a carrier of the disease. Hence, elimination is the only option left. The entire process is carried out as per the Glanders and Farcy Act, 1899,” he said.

“Initially we were planning to eliminate both the horses the same day. But on the plea of Anokhelal (the owner of the second horse), we decided to give a day’s grace and now will eliminate the horse on Thursday morning,” said an officer with the animal husbandry department in Bareilly. Anokhelal told the officials that he did want not his horse’s death to cast a pall of gloom on his daughter’s wedding and hence sought the one-day breather, which was granted.

Officials said both the horses were diagnosed with Glanders disease when their serum samples were sent to a lab for tests. The animal husbandry department had collected the samples as part of a routine procedure. The animal husbandry department carries out such routine sampling across the state every month as a precautionary measure.

The Glanders and Farcy Act 1999 states, “Horse to be destroyed if found diseased: otherwise restored. If the veterinary practitioner certifies in writing that the horse is diseased, the inspector shall cause the same to be immediately destroyed.”

The owner of the animal used to get Rs 50 from the government during the British era, officials said, adding that the amount had now increased to Rs 25,000.

Kishan Babu, who lives in Rithora town of Bareilly, said he lost his best companion.

“Nothing could compensate my loss. We have seen many tough days together. But he was there even when I didn’t have anything to feed him. And now when he is now more, his death has given me Rs 25,000. I am feeling indebted. I can’t re-pay him at least in this life,” said an inconsolable Kishan Babu.

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