Towards safe, high quality meat
For slaughterhouses to supply safe, hygienic and good quality beef products that meet domestic and international demands, Veterinarians have roles to play, in all stages of the meat value chain.
They are also central to combating diseases in livestock production through prevention, management, treatment and control, just as they monitor livestock movement, from market through control posts, to the slaughterhouses.
National President of the Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association, Dr. Edgar Amos Sunday, who disclosed this, said certain factors need to be put in place, to enjoy good meat quality in the country.
Quoting Section 18(1) of the Animal Diseases (Control) Act CAP 17 LFN 2014: “Any person who establishes or intends to establish a hatchery or a poultry farm of up to 250 birds shall be required to obtain a licence for its establishment from the Chief Veterinary Officer of the state in which the hatchery or farm is situated”, Sunday said the Act mandates state CVOs, to regulate ranches and livestock farms.
“Federal CVO regulates the importation and exportation of livestock and livestock products. The meat law of all the states in Nigeria mandates the state CVO to register abattoirs, while Vet Officers monitor and supervise the slaughter of animals and inspection of meat for public consumption.
“Vets must be involved in production of healthy, clean and wholesome animals viz a viz feeds and feeding, breeding, upgrading, AI, management. They are also central to combating disease constraints in livestock production through prevention, management, treatment and control.”
He however, noted that there are many constraints to safe meat for optimum public health, which he listed to include-dearth of abattoirs, dearth of facilities; dearth of personnel, especially Veterinary Officers, illegal slaughters; ineffective laws; illiterate butchers; poor facilities for transporting meat; lack of meat policy and dearth of research.
To the Managing Director, Godoye Enterprises, Ogun State, Gowin Oyedele Oyediji, meat quality and safety control can only be achieved when there is industrial harmony between veterinary doctors & animal scientists. He noted that aside this, there must be respect for public service rules for professional practice; correct institutional framework problems; development of good policy framework; education of operators; respect for laws, regulations & standard operating procedures.
Oyediji emphasised the need to advise and encourage the enactment and the enforcement of laws that will guarantee efficient production and consistent supply of high quality animal products to Nigerians.