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Livestock Care

The livestock industry contributes significantly to the economy of Botswana. Easily identifiable stake-holders are livestock owners; both small and large scale farmers, the government, the veterinarians and consumers. In deed nearly everybody has a stake in this industry. While the industry precedes the veterinary profession, the role of the veterinary profession has grown to being key to the sustenance and growth of the industry.

In Botswana, management of livestock is stratified. National disease control and surveillance is carried out by the government through the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS). The DVS utilizes state resources to control diseases of economic and public health importance. Notable is the control of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP), Trypanosomiasis (Nagana) and rabies. Some of these diseases pose a threat to the national herd. There are large scale cattle ranchers like in Ghanzi farms whose herd size are amenable to the use of herd health and productivity schemes. Many farmers though do not have a structured management scheme and tend to manage disease in their herd at an individual animal level. This is particularly so in the communal grazing system.

Increasingly livestock farming is commercialized.  An example is the feedlot industry be it small stock or cattle feedlots. This intensive production system, as is the large scale dairy farm, calls for availability of a private veterinary support service that through a health scheme can oversee health management of the herd. There is great potential for the livestock sector to grow in Botswana. The veterinary profession is indispensable for such growth to be realized. The Botswana veterinary fraternity does well to get its structures in place and working to meet the challenges of the livestock industry now and in the future.