Anthrax-infected cattle imports from Brazil worry local breeders in Ankara

Anthrax-infected cattle imports from Brazil worry local breeders in Ankara

Eray Görgülü - ANKARA
Anthrax-infected cattle imports from Brazil worry local breeders in Ankara

Authorities have found that 4,000 cattle imported from Brazil for Turkey’s Meat and Milk Institution ahead of the Islamic holiday Eid al-Adha or the “Feast of Sacrifice” and kept in a farm facility in the Gölbaşı district of capital Ankara are infected with anthrax.

Animal sales have been stopped in the Ahiboz and Günalan neighborhoods that are just three kilometers away from the farm where the affected cattle are kept.

Local breeders in the Gölbaşı district are angry, asking how the authorities allowed those “infected animals” to enter the country in the first place. They said their business have also been affected.

However, the Forestry and Agriculture Ministry said as a rule, all animals imported into the country are quarantined at a specific site and tests are run on those animals for 21 days to make sure they do not have any diseases before they are allowed to be sold on the market.

Shipped from Brazil

A total of 3,959 cattle were shipped from Brazil ahead of the Feast of Sacrifice for the Meat and Milk Institution. However, when some of the animals died, teams from Gölbaşı’s Agriculture and Forestry Directorate launched an investigation to determine why they perished and discovered traces of anthrax disease.

Following the findings, 60 animals from the herd were terminated and the farm was placed under quarantine.

The Meat and Milk Institution has assured the public that meat produced from the infected farm or affected animals have not been sold on the market.

The breeders from Ahiboz and Günalan said the facility where the affected animals are kept was established 20 days ago and they learned about the anthrax disease on the second day of the Feast of Sacrifice, on Aug. 22.

The villagers, who noted the bovines arrived one week before the Feast of Sacrifice, complained the “animals should not have been brought here before being checked for any diseases.”

“There are a total of 10,000 cattle in Ahiboz and Günalan,” said Şener Karatay, the village head, adding that the local breeders have been also affected.

“They [breeders] cannot sell their animals because of the quarantine. They have a debt to the Agriculture Cooperative, state-run lender Ziraat Bank and private banks” he explained.

Veterinarians from the Forestry and Agriculture Ministry have vaccinated 10,000 cattle against anthrax in the neighborhoods near the affected farm.

Meanwhile, Forestry and Agriculture Minister Bekir Pakdemirli has ordered for an inquiry into the anthrax incident in Gölbaşı.

“All necessary precautions have been taken and implemented to prevent the disease from spreading to other animals,” the ministry said in a statement.