In Brief: Mixed blessing of first rain

June 29, 2010

"Sudden temperature change, the physiological demands on the digestive system of changing from a fodder to a grass diet, and water-borne diseases are always taxing for the cattle. 'Since the animals are already extremely weak, many are expected to die with the first rains,' said NGO Action Against Hunger’s (ACF) West Africa regional representative Patricia Hoorelbeke.

'The current response is inadequate,' said ACF’s Hoorelbeke. 'In the next month of so, there will be grazing land again. It is time to identify those [animals that] have lost too much [weight] to recover and to focus on the future.' Hoorelbeke noted that recovery can be a lengthy process. During livestock surveys in 2000, she met breeders who said they had still not mananged to build their herds back to the size they were before the 1984 drought."