Anthrax is widespread among cattle in Vanevan and Torfavan communities of Gegharkunik region and are dying. Farmer Walter Aslanyan, a resident of Vanevan community, alerted the Forrights.am editorial office about this.
“Anthrax has been around for about a month. The people in charge of our region have known that they were dying, but they were not even interested in what they are dying from. Veterinarians reported the situation only on the 22nd of the month. They came here from the regional administration, from Yerevan, but the cart does not move from its place: the animals continue to die. And, from today on, the procurement of milk and the sale of meat have been banned,” said the livestock owner.
According to Walter Aslanyan, the disease has spread from the neighboring Torfavan community. The farmer says that seven of his animals have already died and all of them have been burned. According to him, as of today, the Food Safety Inspectorate has banned the procurement of milk, and the villagers are suffering financial losses. According to Walter Aslanyan, the reason for the spread of the disease is the vaccination against anthrax with a low-quality vaccine.
“This problem occurred due to the animals not being vaccinated and being vaccinated with a bad vaccine. Those in charge only manage to take the dead animals, pour gasoline on them and burn them. Seven of my animals have already died, all seven have been burnt, and there are more than ten sick animals who may die. The cost of each cow is 350,000 drams,” he said.
Walter Aslanyan has eighty heads of cattle, he says, which are his main means of livelihood. “Now is the best season to store milk, to solve the problem of winter grass. “Now I do not know what we are going to do, how we are going to do it; there is no one to take responsibility,” he said, stressing that another eight animals died of anthrax last year.
Walter Aslanyan mentioned that people also have already been infected with anthrax. Director of Martuni Medical Center Andranik Harutyunyan told Forrights.am that two citizens have already applied to the MC on suspicion of anthrax, but there is no final diagnosis yet; they are under examination.
In a conversation with Forrights.am, the regional veterinarian Atom Vardanyan did not share the villager’s claim that anthrax is spreading because the vaccines are of poor quality. The veterinarian has a different version.
“There have been vaccinations, but we did it in the spring… in other words, it was done by 90%, ten percent of the animals did not acquire immunity: the reason is that they were wearied. They were vaccinated again three days ago, but there is a problem with pastures, the animals are taken to the same places where the already infected animals were, the pastures are infected with anthrax rods.
90% of the animals acquire immunity, the rest do not. It depends on the resistance of the animal. I do not think the vaccines are of poor quality,” he said, assuring that the vaccination process continues.
The Food Safety Inspectorate is aware of the problem. We were informed that the head of the Inspection Body was also at the scene the other day. “We have taken all the measures envisaged within the functions of the Inspection Body to prevent the development and spread of the disease, and, due to these actions, no person has been infected with the disease. At the moment, the issue is in the center of our attention, with cooperation with the Gegharkunik regional administration and the RA Ministry of Economy continue,” said spokeswoman Anush Harutyunyan.
It is also essential whether the damages suffered by the villagers will be compensated or not. We tried to get clarification on this issue from the Ministry of Economy and Gegharkunik Governor Gnel Sanosyan, but they did not answer our phone calls.