Ministry to visit UC Rusal’s starving cows today
A Ministry of Agriculture-led high-level technical team is slated to visit three Manchester cattle farms operated by bauxite company UC Rusal today to do an in-depth audit of the health status of the animals under its care.
This follows the recent discovery of the deplorable conditions under which an estimated 400 animals are being housed with images showing the cattle in various stages of emaciation and suffering with reports of several deaths.
Representatives from the ministry’s Veterinary Services Division, the Jamaica Dairy Development Board (JDDB) and the Jamaica Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (JSPCA) will visit the locations today.
Following a marathon meeting on Monday between ministry officials, executives of UC Rusal and representatives from the JSPCA, the bauxite company was ordered to take immediate steps to alleviate the animals’ suffering and remedy the situation.
The company has also been given two weeks in which to stabilise the animals, using prophylactic treatment – which is a medication used to prevent a disease from occurring – while providing supportive therapy.
They are then to provide the ministry and the JSPCA with a progress report.
It was also agreed that a team from the JSPCA and the agriculture ministry will closely monitor the situation.
Meanwhile, arrangements have also been made through the Agro Investment Corporation and the JDDB to provide the animals with supplemental feeding support with fodder and nutrients.
In a release issued last evening, the ministry advised that UC Rusal has committed to providing the monitoring team with a detailed medium- and long-term management plan to include the necessary training support, assisted by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority and the JDDB to prevent any such recurrence.
The JSPCA has not ruled out sanctioning UC Rusal under the Cruelty to Animals Act if it finds that its treatment of the cattle was insensitive.