LAHORE - Livestock population in Pakistan has been depleted to the dangerous level due to excessive slaughtering, unchecked smuggling and continued meat export to Middle Eastern countries. Resultantly, the leather industry has also been affected badly by the poor availability of raw material in the country.

This was stated by the participants of a meeting held at the Lahore office of Pakistan Tanners’ Association. Pakistan Tanners’ Association (PTA) Chairman Anjum Zafar appreciated the painstaking efforts of the Punjab Livestock Secretary for funding the education and awareness campaign on salting of hides and skins right at the occasion of Eidul Azha in September 2016.

Zafar expressed his concern over the fast depleting livestock. “Animal breeding and cattle farming are the most neglected areas,” he added. He argued that livestock sector is facing disinvestment due to the government’s negative policies. Poor farmers are off-loading their animals due to their economic and financial disabilities, he added.

PTA Regional Chairman Azam Malik made the officer to note the alarming increase in the prevalence rate of skin diseases damaging hides and skins. He highlighted various areas of Punjab where 30-40 percent animals are affected with pox (mata).

In his address, Nasim Sadiq warned off the stakeholders that livestock population has been reduced to the levels of year 2006. The Livestock secretary explained his strategic interventions and measures for strengthening its departmental outreach and services to the lowest levels of farmers and animal breeders in the villages and far flung areas of the province. He highlighted the monitoring and evaluation features against the departmental services being delivered in the field.

Sadiq claims of incorporating indigenous wisdom at the various phases of policy planning, development and ground implementation. He also presented his departmental database which is being maintained in real time, reflecting each and every detail of operations and services being rendered at the lowest levels in all the 36 district of Punjab.

He was hopeful that results of his interventions will appear in the next two years. Further, he assured taking up of necessary measures for the eradication and control of diseases through vaccination and other measures.

The PTA regional chairman also appreciated and committed to support all his measures for the uplift of Livestock sector in Punjab. Association also agreed on appointing its representatives to assist the Livestock department in the districts of Punjab.

Professor Dr Zafar Iqbal ch, a veteran scholar and scientist from University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, was also present on the occasion along with a large number of leather manufacturers, exporters and representatives of hide and skins markets of Lahore and Multan.