Monday, 1 March 2010

Vet Caps

HOT DOG!! I found some of my old pictures stashed in the computer picture files I thought were gone forever! "O Happy Days ..." OK, enough jubilation for one day. Here are some pictures taken at a Vet Cap run by the National Guard Agricultural Development Team and the Afghanistan Veterinary Association. The purpose of the Vet Cap is to deliver a program that benefits all segments of Afghan society and helps connect the people to their government. Since almost every family has livestock, whether rich or poor, these programs are quite helpful in recently stabilized areas. Plus there are considerable public health benfits since the animals are vaccinated for rabies and anthrax, both of which exist in this country. You can see from the picture the small cattle they have in this country and how thin the cattle are; the adult cow I'm checking is about half the height of a typical stock cow and weighs less than 400 lbs. I've found the animal condition varies from area to area depending upon how much farm land is available. Nutrition is the primary reason the animals are so unthrify; corn stalks, wheat straw and tree leaves make up their diet and none of these have enough protein or energy to promote growth and milk production. Often they "graze" the surrounding mountains and as you've seen from previous pictures, there's very little vegetative growth on the mountains. I've asked how much milk these cows typically give, and one farmer proudly answered "2 kilos" (a typical holstein will give 35 or so kilos a day). I am actually astonished the livestock reproduce at all, given the state of their nutrition and body condition. It goes to show how hardy these animals are and how they have adapted to the rough conditions. We'll be doing more of these events in the area this month and it will be great to work some more with the California ADT. Their commanding officer's family has a vineyard in California and I'll be ordering some of his wine for consumption back in the states - he recommends the blended merlot.

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