The Supreme Court sought responses from the Centre and six states on Monday on a plea that has sought the formulation of a national health plan on lumpy skin disease in cattle. Lumpy skin disease is a contagious viral infection that affects cattle and causes fever, nodules on the skin, and can also lead to death. The disease spreads through mosquitoes, flies, lice and wasps by direct contact among cattle, and through contaminated food and water.
The plea, filed by Pune-based NGO Aryavarta Mahasabha Foundation, came up for hearing before a bench of justices Surya Kant and J B Pardiwala, which issued notices and sought responses from the Centre and the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh.
The plea, drafted by advocate Pawan Prakash Pathak, said lumpy skin disease has been rapidly spreading among cattle in eight states and more than 75,000 cattle have died due to it since July.
According to the plea, the Centre has begun administering the “goat pox vaccine” to all cattle in the affected states and said it is “100-per cent effective” against the disease.
“Already 1.5 crore doses have been administered in the eight affected states. The total cattle population in India is around 20 crore,” the plea said, adding that the country has also developed an indigenous vaccine — Lumpi-ProVacInd — for the disease and two companies are manufacturing it.
It said animals are also essential for maintaining the ecological balance on earth and in recent years, the protection and welfare of animals have taken a prominent place in the country.
The plea said the milk yield could be severely impacted if vaccination is delayed.
It has sought a direction to the respondent states to formulate a national health plan on lumpy skin disease among cattle.
The petition has also sought the formulation of an action plan for vaccination of cattle within a reasonable time period and arrangements to bury the animals that have died from the disease and prevent its further spread.