A cattle sweep is taking place in rural Belize to detect two diseases that affect livestock and can be harmful to humans if consumed. The process is in three phases prior to the exportation of the livestock to Mexico and Guatemala. So far, sweeps have taken place in northern Belize. And today, Duane Moody had a firsthand look as a team from the Belize National Sanitary Cattle Plan Project was carrying out their tests on the cattle heads.
Duane Moody, Reporting
For a month and a half, a cattle sweep has been taking place in Belize District. It part of the Belize National Sanitary Cattle Plan Project that is testing livestock for two diseases which can be harmful to humans who come in contact with the animals or consume its flesh.
Doroteo Dominguez, Belize National Sanitary Cattle Plan Project
“The purpose of this project is to eradicate brucellosis and tuberculosis from the country of Belize and for these cattle to be exported as well into Mexico, the Mexico market and into the world. It is one month and a half that we are working in Belize. We have worked Corozal and Orange Walk districts. This project is for three cycles. This is the first cycle that we are doing; Blue Creek is starting its second cycle. After the three cycles have past the international market will declare Belize free of tuberculosis and BR, which is brucellosis. It is important because these two diseases are contagious to people; it can be transmitted. Well more or less we are working with Mexican vets right now. But like mentioned before, they can be transmitted to humans by the meat or just going close to them.”
And today, some one hundred and eighty plus cows, all the property of cattle farmer, Buntin Moody, were tested and tagged in the village of May Pen in rural Belize District.
Buntin Moody, Cattle Farmer
“Today we get the cattle together to do wah Cattle Sweep. Government decided to check the animal to see if dehn have any sickness so that later on we could get wah better price at least to import them to Mexico.”
“Our job consist of ear-tagging the animals, bleeding them and injecting a small portion of tuberculin on the tail of the animal so that we can see if they react to these disease. After seventy-two hours, we come back; after three days to check on the tail again. If it has a swelling on it that means that it reacts to the tuberculosis disease. And what the Mexican vets usually do is that they do the cervical which is on the neck; they inject bovine and avian…that is injected on the neck of the animal and they are measured.”
Essentially, the cattle sweep is excellent for farmers who export the livestock, specifically to Mexico and Guatemala. Moody says that the value per pound of cattle over the years has seen a significant decrease. And while he is paying ten dollars per head for his cattle to be immunized, he is hopeful that it will pay off and he will experience increased revenue for his livelihood.
“I have roughly about one hundred and seventy-five, eighty head of cattle and that’s why I am going through the process so that I maybe could get something better because right now the Guatemalans buy out a hay-pile of the cow. Last year I think I sell cow fi ninety cents a pound. I wah try di thing see if it would work out. The price right now I am getting is two-seventy-five a pound which is maybe not the best price, but I have to go with that right now because years ago ih mi deh dah two change. Eight years ago I used to get three dollars a pound. So hope at the end of the day, things get better.”
“How much pounds does a cattle normally has?”
“Well it depends on a size; you could get three hundred pound, four hundred pound, six hundred pound, eight hundred pound—it just depends on the size of the cattle. All cattle farmers, it is beneficial to all of us.”
Duane Moody for News Five.