CHITRAL: The current harsh winter has threatened animal husbandry in Chitral as most cattle are unable to stand very low temperatures.
District officer of livestock department Dr Mohammad Riaz told Dawn on Wednesday that the issue could be effectively addressed by vaccination of cattle, goats and poultry against hemorrhagic syndrome, enterotoxaemia and other diseases.
He said local breed of the animal had been found to be less resistant to the winter-specific diseases where temperature remained below zero degree Celsius for more than three months of the year.
He said the extreme climatic conditions were one of the factors detrimental for multiplication of the cattle head and poultry whose population density is far below the desired level keeping in view the topography whose 62 per cent area consisted of pastures.
Mr Riaz said during the winter season, most of the valleys are rendered inaccessible due to heavy snowfall making the vaccination campaign an uphill task for the workers of his department.
However, a comprehensive strategy had been designed at the advent of the winter season to cover each and every household of the district to vaccinate animals and the campaign continued for 40 days.
Regarding the strength of animals and poultry in the district, he put the cattle at 200,000, goats and sheep at 400,000 and poultry at 500,000 as per agricultural census carried out in 2006.
He said stretching over 14,850 square kilometres, the district was divided into 36 segregated valleys. He said there were six veterinary hospitals and 26 veterinary dispensaries in the district and the number should be considerably increased to cater to the needs of local animal population.