The President of the National Livestock Owners Association Ebrima Jallow, has reacted to a report published on the Foroyaa Newspaper’s Friday 5th January 2018 Issue with the caption “Drivers Decry Frequent Animal Crossings on Main Trans Gambia Highway”. Mr. Jallow called on livestock owners to be responsible and keep their animals from straying idly on highways. Jallow indicated that roads are not constructed for animals to be idling on, but for the easy passage of people, goods and services, through the usage of vehicles.
It could be recalled that drivers plying the Brikama-Basse highway decried the unusual crossing of animals on the trans-Gambia main highway and that animal distraction is increasing at an alarming rate. It has been noticed in recent times that drivers knock down animals crossing the highway leading to cattle and human fatalities. In an interview with this reporter, Jallow said drivers have been urged to be careful when using the trans-Gambia highway since it is known to have settlements that are engaged in livestock rearing. Animal owners he said, need to keep their animals away from the main highway.
Most of these accidents happen in areas with cattle tracks and recalled the accidents that happened in CRR and LRR in 2017 and in Mandinaba involving eight cattle that died on the spot. These animals he said, need to be given due consideration as if they were school children crossing the road; that drivers should stop and allow them to pass; that drivers should take note of lands allocated for livestock grazing and drinking points, now used as new settlements and farm lands. Jallow said they do not enjoy animal accidents because they are the losers when such a thing happens.
The livestock owners he said, should also take good care of their animals because their roaming on the highway is getting much frequent and some are roaming because they find it difficult to drink and graze.
He called for the need to identify designated cattle tracks for drivers to be aware, to facilitate the free movement of livestock to grazing areas and called for attitudinal change for livestock owners. This he said has caused Gambians not to fully utilise their potentials in the production of livestock and livestock products compared to other countries. The association he said, will continue to raise awareness for livestock owners to protect and manage their livestock while urging drivers to be cautious when driving.
At the time of compiling this article, one cow was hit by a vehicle beside the airport and witnessed by passengers at the time of the incident.