Date Posted: December 20th, 2010
Rinderpest is an often fatal viral disease of domestic cattle. It also affects sheep, goats, some breeds of pigs and a large variety of wildlife species. Scientists have been working for decades to develop vaccines. As these became available, the next goal was to eradicate rinderpest globally. Many countries are now rinderpest-free. In mid-2011, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Organisation for Animal Health are expected to jointly declare that rinderpest has indeed been eradicated worldwide.
For more information about the global initiative to eradicate rinderpest, and basic information about rinderpest and its history, go to: http://www.iah.ac.uk/disease/rinderpest1.shtml.
Here, you can access a factsheet on rinderpest from the World Organisation for Animal Health: http://www.oie.int/Eng/ressources/RINDERPEST-EN.pdf.
You can also read more about this story at these links:
Farm Radio International has produced many scripts on livestock. Here are two which cover various cattle health issues:
How to prevent and treat parasitic roundworms in cattle: advice from a veterinarian and a herder. Package 88, Script 2, July 2009. http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/88-2script_en.asp
“Spray me, I’m itchy”: What moo really means. Package 88, Script 4, July 2009. http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/88-4script_en.asp
Here, you can refer to recent Farm Radio Weekly news stories about cattle:
West Africa: Livestock routes reduce pastoralist-farmer conflict (Issue 96, January 2010). http://weekly.farmradio.org/2010/01/25/1-west-africa-livestock-routes-reduce-pastoralist-farmer-conflict-irin-daily-trust-daily-observer/
East Africa: East Coast Fever vaccine registered in three East African countries (Issue 114, June 2010).
Rwanda: Local cattle breeds still preferred (Issue 54, February 2009).
Ethiopia: Dairy co-ops turn extra milk into profit (Issue 74, July 2009).
As cattle are so important to farmers’ livelihoods, the topic of cattle health always makes for an interesting and useful radio program. You could plan a program which shares farmers’ experiences and tips on how they deal with sick or injured animals. You could look for farmers who raise cattle and interview them for a call-in program. Ask how they deal with common illnesses, what preventative measures they take to keep their animals healthy, how they know when to call in a vet, and the social and cultural value of their animals. Ask other farmers to call- or text- in with reactions and further suggestions.