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NEWS | April 22, 2008

Afghan veterinarians come to ranchers' aid

By None , American Forces Press Service

BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan (April 23, 2008) — Government veterinary officials in Afghanistan’s Farah province, assisted by coalition forces, treated animals and taught local shepherds how to care for their livestock at an event at Farah Fire Base.

The civil affairs team stationed at the Farah Fire Base helped the provincial veterinarian in hosting the event April 2. Dr. Gulam, the provincial veterinarian, coordinated and organized the event by putting out radio messages and sending his technicians to remote villages to invite ranchers to the event. The civil affairs team organized the supplies and requested volunteers from the provincial reconstruction team’s medical personnel to assist with the event.

"We wanted to treat [the animals] because it’s the right thing to do," the civil affairs team’s medic said. "Normally, the animals would get nothing in the way of veterinary treatment."

Overall, the animals brought in were "fairly healthy," the team sergeant said.

All of the animals were treated for worms. Gulam gave two of the sickest animals antibiotics and asked the ranchers to bring the animals in for a follow-up appointment. He also taught the ranchers how to administer the de-worming medicine to their herds.

"The short-term goals involved inoculating the herds for worms and legitimizing the provincial government’s veterinarian program for animal husbandry," the team sergeant said.

Officials said the ranchers will see increased income resulting from healthier livestock and that the effort will engender long-term confidence in the provincial veterinary office.