Toxic plunge dip causes cattle deaths in Chekalini

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Some of the farmers at the Chekalini cattle dip
Some of the farmers at the Chekalini cattle dip

Livestock keepers from Chekalini in Lugari Sub County are counting losses following the death of their cattle that died after being plunged in the Chekalini cattle dip. Speaking to West media, the distressed farmers regretted how a total of 180 cows out of the 230 that were immersed in the dip on 21st June 2017, were seriously affected leading to the death of about ten of them.

The farmers said the dip had collapsed and wasn’t used for more than a decade before the decision by the County Government of Kakamega to intervene and rehabilitate it, and as a result, they decided to use the cattle dip. Mr. Andrew Situma said his six dairy cows were affected after immersing them in the plunge dip.

A section of the Chekalini cattle dip
A section of the Chekalini cattle dip

“When I reached home my cows became docile and lost appetite, I tried to give them different types of feeds but they couldn’t eat, on Saturday one of them died. When I called a veterinary officer to inspect the carcas and establish the cause of the death he told me it
had died of poisoning,” said Situma adding that the remaining five were still weak and can’t walk or feed.

The case is the same to Mr. Arap Leting’ Thomas Maloba who also has lost his bull valued at over Ksh. 60,000. He said he took his six cows to the dip on Wednesday morning but few
minutes after arriving home he noticed something amiss in the behaviour of the animals “They couldn’t stand the scorching heat of the sun as they rushed to shades and they lost appetite, some of them even stopped excreting.”

About 40 farmers are trying to save the lives of their animals with some of the cows left with burnt-like skins while others have become blind and some cannot even stand on their limbs.
The owners of about 50 cows which aren’t seriously affected have taken drastic measures and have literally decided to wash the cows using soap and water to remove the pesticide.

A section of the Chekalini plunge dip
A section of the Chekalini plunge dip

Preliminary investigations have hinted that excess pesticide was put in the dip compared to the volume of water. It’s alleged that the dip which has a capacity of holding 24,000 litres of water had about 12,000 litres when the chemical was placed and the dip attendants were instructed to add more water to the required level before the animals could plunge dip, an order they ignored leading to the catastrophe.

In a meeting held at the dip on Monday, farmers suspended two officials whom they accused of ignoring the veterinary officer’s directive to add water in the cattle dip. Those whom their animals have died have appealed for compensation from the County Government of Kakamega claiming the cows were a precious investment to them.