PESHAWAR    -   While lumpy skin disease has af­fected cattle, on the one hand, it has also rendered many butch­ers jobless in the current circum­stances.

A beef dealer in the Saddar area, Ahmed Khan, told this corre­spondent that before the LSD out­break, he used to sell almost 40kg of beef daily, but his business has fallen below 15kg nowadays. “I used to receive orders on phone from customers, but now people have been so much scared by the disease that many don’t even visit our shops,” he added.

Discussing the ongoing situa­tion, the president of the beef asso­ciation Maqsood Qureshi said that the government needs to launch a vigorous campaign to raise aware­ness among people that LSD can­not be transmitted from animals to humans and that it is a disease limited to animals only.

“The propaganda on social me­dia and other channels must be countered, otherwise thousands of people working in the beef business will suffer. Those asso­ciated with the business are not just butchers selling beef at their shops, but there are workers in the market, wholesale meat trad­ers, sanitation staff at slaughter­houses and other places, etc,” he elaborated.

Business at a private slaugh­terhouse on Ring Road has de­clined significantly. According to the slaughterhouse owner Asghar Khan, more than 500 animals used to be slaughtered in the past, but nowadays around 100 animals are slaughtered at the facility. A government-run slaughterhouse near Charsadda Road has also wit­nessed a slump in business from 50 animals daily to around 10 an­imals.

Speaking to The Nation, Direc­tor General Livestock Khyber Pa­khtunkhwa Dr Alamzeb Khan said that the disease cannot be trans­mitted to humans. “If it could be transmitted to humans, our de­partment’s staff would be severe­ly affected, but there is no such case among our employees. Also, there has been no LSD case among butchers so far, who deal in the beef business,” he added. 

He further said that milk and meat are vital for human health but that unfortunately, people have stopped consuming these food items due to propaganda by vested interest elements, particu­larly on social media.

According to statistics shared by Directorate General Livestock and Diary Development Department, 5,459 animals have perished as a result of lumpy skin disease in the province so far. Also, the depart­ment said that since the outbreak of the disease so far, 1,248,920 ani­mals have been vaccinated against the disease in KP, while more than 9,000 cattle were vaccinated in a single day on Monday.

A butcher in the city, Abdul Haq, stated that there is a visible dif­ference between meat from a healthy animal and LSD-affected animal. “There are visible spots on the meat of an infected animal, which is why it can be identified easily. However, people have even stopped consuming the meat from healthy animals,” he added.