No fewer than 24 butchers and cattle traders were at the weekend arrested for offences bordering on illegal operations in a clamp-down exercise carried out against illegal abattoirs, slaughter slabs and cattle markets by the Lagos State Government.
Speaking with journalists after the exercise, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Oluwatoyin Suarau, explained that the exercise was carried out in Ikorodu and Badagry areas of the state by the Monitoring, Enforcement and Compliance Unit on Abattoirs and Slaughter Slabs, Stray Animals, Meat and Live Cattle Transportation and Regulation of Veterinary Premises.
The commissioner stressed the need for periodic monitoring, enforcement and compliance in the red meat value chain business, adding that the effort will help prevent the spread of diseases, promote data collection for planning, promote good animal welfare and make Lagos a safe place for all inhabitants by discouraging environmental pollution and health hazards.
While reiterating that the state government has declared zero tolerance on illegal abattoirs and slaughter slabs, illegal transportation of meat and cattles, unregistered veterinary premises and stray animals, Suarau noted that government will continue to close down abattoirs and slaughter slabs that are not established in compliance with the relevant laws governing meat slaughtering in the state.
The commissioner maintained that the state Monitoring, Enforcement and Compliance Unit has the responsibility of monitoring the whole process of meat handling right from the animal markets to the abattoirs including meat and cattle transportation, noting that government has handled significantly the transportation aspect the chain by introducing the ‘Eko Refrigerated Meat Van’ which is now being used to transport meat rather than the former obnoxious meat transportation methods.
According to him, “Government has also provided designated vehicles called ‘METROLIVE’ for the movement of live cattles in order to eradicate the old method of cattle trekking or transporting of live cattle with unapproved vehicles on Lagos roads which is now is prohibited’’.
He disclosed further that the government would not condone any act of uncleanliness and lawlessness in the red meat value chain business, adding that all aspects of the meat supply chain would also be scrutinised especially in the area of sanitation of slaughtering facilities, meat handling and movement.
Suarau explained that all these steps are being taken to complement the on-going upgrade of the Lagos Abattoirs and reformation of the entire red meat value-chain system towards the delivery of wholesome meat to the people in a hygenic environment.
“There is a growing recognition that the planned reforms is desirable to meet the state’s mega city status where the best practices of meat handling, environmental and facility hygiene is adopted to meet the international acceptable standard,” the commissioner posited.