From The Times
Captain Miles Malone 28, is a member of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps 102 Theatre Military Working Dogs Support Unit, based in Sennelager, Germany. His principal job is caring for the dogs that sniff for roadside bombs. However, in the three months that he has been in Helmand he has begun a monthly clinic for the remote farming communities around the main British base. Camp Bastion.
There is almost no understanding among the local population of veterinary care or basic animal husbandry.
“There is near total ignorance about causes and spread of disease, breeding cycles and how milk is produced,” Captain Malone said. “If a goat stops milking, it is said to be ‘Allah’s will’ rather than the fact that it has not bred for 18 months and therefore has no anatomical reason to produce milk.” How ignorant can they get? But remember, Afghanistan has never been conquered so nothing can be attributed to the exploitation or the burden of the colonial legacy. They have only themselves to blame.
He added that the concept of a vet was virtually unknown and that he was having to describe himself to wary locals as a “doctor for animals”.
For many farmers in Helmand livestock assume an importance higher than the family’s daughters, according to Sergeant Major Greg Reeve, 39, who works with Captain Malone. “The economy of Helmand is 70 per cent agricultural, 20 per cent livestock and 10 per cent other. If an Afghan man owns an animal, it will be more prized to him than any other possession, apart from his sons.”
Captain Malone said that the sheep and goats were responding extremely well to his deworming and delousing campaign. He has also encountered high levels of animal diseases such as brucellosis, which have been all but eradicated from British herds.
“These herds are fascinating because the goats and sheep are extremely ancient breeds,” he said.
“If we reduce the diseased state of the animals, the knock-on effect will be improved meat and milk production. This not only increases the value of the animals at market, but it increases the amount of protein in the locals’ diet. If the meat does not contain worms or diseases which can be transmitted to humans, so the health of the local population also improves.”
Innovation. No good will come of it.