Uggah (second left) takes a look at the book by Malaysia Veterinary Department shown by Dr. Quaza (left)

KUCHING: The Malaysia Veterinary Department plans to introduce a new strategy in giving anti-rabies vaccine to stray dogs.

Its director-general Datuk Dr Quaza Nizamuddin Hassan Nizar said it would feed them baits laced with the vaccine.

These oral rabies vaccination (ORV) baits consist of a sachet, or plastic packet, containing rabies vaccine. To make the baits attractive, the sachets containing the vaccine are sprinkled with fishmeal coating or encased inside hard fishmeal-polymer blocks.

“We will use this in areas with many stray dogs and those hard-to-go-to areas alongside existing strategies in the ongoing anti-rabies operation.

“We are already in the process of buying these vaccine baits; then we will conduct a study to see its impact and how it can affect the dog immunisation,” he said during a courtesy call on Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas at his office here yesterday.

Uggah (second left) takes a look at the book by Malaysia Veterinary Department shown by Dr. Quaza (left)

Dr Quaza said Sarawak is doing well in combatting the rabies outbreak and assures the state of the department’s support.

He also praised the state in its ongoing plan to aggressively increase its cattle population in its effort to boost its beef production, viewing the move as a step in the right direction.

Uggah, in response said that Sarawak has plenty of land and the demand for meat is huge as the state is free of the foot and mouth disease.

“Towards this end, we are getting our land development authority like Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Salcra) and big oil palm companies like Ta Ann, Rimbunan Hijau and DAFA to integrate cattle breeding in their plantations,” he said.

Uggah who is Agriculture Modernisation, Native Land and Regional Development Minister said Salcra had started with about 3,000 head of cattle in a few of its estates.

“The projection is for it to produce 1,000 calves per year which we will further distribute to others who are interested,” he added.

Dr Quaza, who concurred, said Malaysia is expected to face a serious issue in beef production by 2035.

“We do not have the breeder population now. We need to have at least 200,000 head of cattle in the national herd each year for the next five years to stop the decline.

“This should be made a national priority. Now Malaysia is only producing 50,000 but is importing 150,000 metric tons of beef yearly,” he added.