Judegment Day At The High Court London

Judegment Day At The High Court London
Mengi v Hermitage: Libel Claim Successfully Defended

Saturday, 20 June 2009


‘Endangers life and livestock in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania'

On 11th May 2006 Veterinary Officers were called to Silverdale Farm in the Hai District of the Kilimanjaro Region where cows and goats owned jointly by Mr. Benjamin Mengi and Mrs. Millie Mengi are being kept. The animals were found to be dying from malnutrition and Foot & Mouth disease. A report was prepared and submitted to Dr. Swai, the senior veterinary investigative officer for the Kilimanjaro region.Dr Kweka the District Livestock officer for Hai was immediately informed of the outbreak and responded by stating, ‘thank you for letting me know’.
Dr. Kweka did not however immediately attend the farm in order to secure the necessary quarantine measures to protect the surrounding environment from this highly contagious disease.As a result, Dr. Kweka was called again on Friday the 12th May and informed of the problem for a second time. He attended the farm late afternoon and stated, ‘I am satisfied that the animals are suffering Foot and Mouth Disease’.However, by Saturday 13th May, Dr. Kweka had still not taken any steps to put quarantine measures in place.
The cattle continued to be milked by Mengi’s staff and the milk was being sold in Moshi Town for human consumption. The animals continued to drink from furrow water sources on the farm that flow into the Kimashuku area and beyond to the TPC sugar Estates. Foot and Mouth disease is a highly contagious virus that can be carried by water.With still no quarantine order in place, Dr. Swai attended the farm on Saturday the 13th May. He attended in the afternoon with, once again, Dr. Kweka. On attending the farm, Dr. Swai found seven dead cows and five dead goats in various stages of decomposition, surrounding the cowsheds where Mr. and Mrs. Mengi keep their animals. One animal was found dead and rotting inside the shed. Beside this dead animal, Mengi’s staff, were milking a cow, which had Foot and Mouth lesions on its Teats.Dr. Swai immediately confirmed that the animals were in an appalling condition and were infected with Foot & Mouth Disease.

He stated that the case was so clear that he did not feel the need to take ‘swabs’ from the animals.
He advised Dr. Kweka to immediately quarantine the animals. He further stated that Dr. Kweka should personally supervise the burying of the animals in compliance with the law. Foot and Mouth disease is a reportable disease. On questioning the four permanent staff members employed on Silverdale Farm by Mr. and Mrs. Mengi to tend their cattle and, by examining the records kept by them, Dr. Swai and Dr. Kweka confirmed that the problem had existed since January of this year. On asking Mr. and Mrs. Mengi’s staff why they had not been reporting the deaths or attempting to bury the animals, they stated that Mr. and Mrs. Mengi had been repeatedly told of the appalling conditions the animals were in. They further stated that they had been given explicit instructions by Mr. Mengi not to bury the carcasses of the dead animals but to leave them to rot where they had died.
The staff also stated that no medications or inoculations have been supplied to them to administer to the animals and no attempt was being made to feed them properly or assist them overcome the disease or alleviate their suffering. On Tuesday 16th May, Dr. Kweka had still not placed a quarantine order on the animals.
Three more dead animals were found on the farms surrounding the cowshed. Mengi’s staff stated that they had died in the shed overnight and they had dragged the carcasses outside of the shed. Dr. Kweka was telephoned and asked to attend the farms and supervise the burial of the animals. Dr. Kweka refused, stating ‘the issue was complicated’.The Regional Commissioner Mr. Babu was immediately informed of what was fast becoming an increasingly dangerous situation. Mr. Babu instructed Dr. Kweka to attend the farm immediately.

Dr. Kweka did not attend the farms as instructed and the RC was informed of this fact at 1400hrs. At 1745hrs, Dr. Kweka attended the farms and supervised the burial of the animals. Once again, on this occasion, Mr. Mengi’s staff, refused to dig the holes for the animals or bury them stating, Mr. Mengi had given them explicit instructions to leave the carcasses where they lay.On Thursday 18th May, still no quarantine measures were in place and two further dead animals were found on the farms next to the cowshed. Dr. Kweka was informed and refused to attend stating he was at a meeting and did not have time. He attended the following morning Friday 19th May inspected the animals and informed Mengi’s staff to bury them. They refused.
The carcass thus remained next to the cowsheds rotting. On exiting the farm, Dr. Kweka found a member of Mengi’s staff taking milk off the farm to sell in Moshi Town. Dr. Kweka did not confiscate this milk or order the staff member to discard it.

Salim Habib, removing milk from the farm!

On Saturday 20th May, with still no quarantine measures in place, two further dead animals were found close to the cowsheds. Dr. Kweka was again asked to come and deal with the situation in the early morning and refused stating he was too busy and was then unobtainable for the rest of the day.

On Sunday the 21st May, the two carcasses remained on the farm in a stinking condition with Mr. Mengi's staff refusing to bury the animals. Dr. Swai was telephoned and informed of the situation. His response was, ‘this is not my responsibility, my duty is to advise and that is what I have done, this is Dr. Kweka’ s responsibility’.

On Sunday 21st May, ten days after Dr. Kweka had been informed of the serious Foot and Mouth outbreak, still no quarantine measures were in place. The animals continue to be milked with the milk being sold in Moshi town to hotels for human consumption. Mr. and Mrs. Mengi’s staff continue to walk in and out of the farm without taking any measures to disinfect themselves and the animals continue to contaminate water sources to the surrounding villages thus placing animal and human life at risk. Importantly, this savage and inhumane suffering of innocent animals, avoidably continues.Monday 22nd May.

Still no quarantine order in is in place in respect of the animals and still no qualified veterinary assistance has been administered to them. Foot and Mouth disease is a very serious reportable disease. If unchecked, this outbreak is capable of contaminating the livestock of the entire country. It is certainly likely that the disease has through this most appalling administrative negligence has already been transmitted to the surrounding Kimashuku area. Foot and Mouth disease can also, under rare circumstances, infect human beings.

Given that this unchecked situation creates a very dangerous public health hazard in the district, the residents of the Hai district and the Kilimanjaro region should now surely, be asking very pertinent questions indeed of its district administrations and the Police, as to why, Dr. Kweka has not imposed a quarantine order on these Foot and Mouth infected animals belonging to Mr. and Mrs. Mengi.Today, as at 1st February 2007, still no government veterinary officer has been to Silverdale Farm to review the situation and asses the existing quarantine order.

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