Poor farmers given diseased cows as welfare support

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Many poor households in the central region's Quang Ngai Province have discovered the cows they were given as poverty support are infected with the foot-and-mouth disease, VnExpress said Monday.


Animal health officials in Tinh Hoa Commune, Son Tinh District have been busy in recent days instructing the residents to sterilize their breeding area and quarantine the sick cows.


Dang Ngoc Hop, a commune animal health official, said the foot-and-mouth disease has spread quickly among animals in the commune, starting from the cows that provincial officials gave farmers in a poverty alleviation project.


The commune now has 21 sick cows and nine of them were from the project.


"When the cows were handed over, several residents had found that the animals were not as healthy as they were told. The cows fell sick after two days," Hop said.


Dang Tuong Cong, a local farmer, said his own cows were strong until they were tended to along with cows from the project. "My wife and I have been worried for days. If all the cows die, we'll be empty-handed."


The cattle supplier, Tai Nguyen Company, has given each affected household VND500,000 (US$26) to treat the cows, but it has also maintained that the animals had been tested by the province's animal health officials before being handed over to the residents.


Quang Ngai agriculture officials had bought 42 cows at VND6 million ($308) each from the company, to deliver to 84 poor households, some in Binh Son District.


Do Van Tu, another project beneficiary, said the province and the company were blaming each other leaving "the farmers to suffer all."


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