Planet Earth Attains Freedom from Dreaded Cattle Plague
New Delhi, 23 August, 2011
Indian Council of Agricultural Research in consultation with the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries organized the national ceremony on the declaration of global freedom from Rinderpest here today.
Speaking on the occasion, Shri Rudra Gangadharan, Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying & Fisheries, Government of India complimented and congratulated all those who made contributions in global eradication of the Rinderpest. He emphasized that we could achieve the success due to coordinated action of the concerned agencies at local, regional, national and global level. He also appreciated the help and support rendered by FAO & OIE in this direction. While mentioning future challenges, Shri Gangadharan reiterated the need of better and close coordination between agencies dealing with human health and animal health problems. He said that special focus is being given in the forthcoming 12th Plan on monitoring and control of emerging animal diseases .
Earlier, Dr. S. Ayyappan, Secretary, DARE & Director General, ICAR highlighted the important role of collaborations and partnerships across the country and the globe in accomplishing the noteworthy success. While complimenting scientists associated in the programme, he said that green revolution could not have been possible without the eradication of Rinderpest. However, we could not afford to be complacent as trans-boundary pests and diseases are the emerging threats requiring utmost attention .
Professor P.K. Uppal, FAO National Consultant, outlined the brief history of Rinderpest eradication in India. It took almost 150 years to wipe-out the disease once called Cattle-Plague due to very high level of mortality. India has been free from clinical Rinderpest since June, 1995. However, as per norms, India submitted the dossier on August, 2005 for obtaining freedom from Rinderpest. The International Committee of World Organization for Animal Health OIE recognized India as free from Rinderpest infection on 25th May, 2006.
Mr. Gavin Wall, FAO Representative in India, said that effective implementation of a post-eradication strategy is essential to secure the future, and it is best coordinated through global players such as the OIE and FAO. We are looking forward to harnessing the science and partnerships that were developed through Rinderpest control and eradication to address other animal health challenges and improve human livelihoods and food security, he added .
Dr. A.S. Nanda, Animal Husbandry Commissioner, Government of India called it a moment of pride for the whole country and informed that a vigil is being kept to monitor its re-emergence and talked about the preparedness to deal with any eventuality, if it happens .
Professor K.M.L. Pathak, Deputy Director General (Animal Science), ICAR highlighted the role and contribution of ICAR in the Rinderpest eradication programme. The impact of Rinderpest eradication has yielded a major economic benefit to the country in respect of owners of livestock sector particularly small, marginal farmers and landless laborers. In fact, the conquest of Rinderpest globally is a tribute to the skill and efforts of the veterinarians and researchers who fought Rinderpest in remote and difficult terrain in various parts of the world, he added .
Scientists, researchers, policy planners and other stakeholders across the country participated in the national ceremony.
(Source: NAIP Sub-Project on Mass Media Mobilization, DKMA)