Rivers State Government has faulted claims by the National Butchers union that unwholesome beef was being sold in markets in the state.
The Commissioner for Agriculture, Fred Kpakol, said government has employed enough veterinary doctors and personnel to inspect meat sold in the markets in the state and monitor the movement of livestock in the state.
The National Butchers’ Union had said that the closure of the Abattoir at Slaughter Market, Trans-Amadi since March last year had not allowed for proper inspection of meat and monitoring of movement of livestock in the state.
The Public Relations Officer of the union, Babajaye Tanko, said the closure of the market created room for fraudulent elements to bring in donkey, horse and other kinds of beef to sell as cow beef in markets in the state.
Tanko called on Rivers State Government to consider reopening the Trans-Amadi Slaughter market to enable traders commence proper trading. He also said life has not been easy for traders who have been out of business for close to 11 months since the market was closed down.
He said apart from the sale of unwholesome meat in the markets, the price of meat in the markets has risen significantly. “Anybody that is able bring in a cow to Rivers State will sell it the way he likes. You buy or you leave. The price in the market has doubled. This is because the Trans-Amadi market is closed. And the dealers that convey those goods from the north cannot send again because there is no place to offload, no place to kill. We are calling on the government to reopen Slaughter so that things will be easy for people, so that water will reach people’s mouth to drink,” Tanko said.
But the commissioner for agriculture said the ministry was doing its best to maintain standard practice as it concerns inspection of meat for human consumption.
“We are aware of the zoonotic disease that is available and we are very careful. The state government has a team and the Federal government has been monitoring the movement of meat into the state. Very recently the governor employed 10 veterinary doctors who have been moving from one slaughter to the other to inspect the meat before they are slaughtered; and when they are slaughtered to check the tissues,” Kpakol said.
The commissioner disclosed that the state government planned to build a world class veterinary clinic and laboratory at the Trans-Amadi slaughter to check the influx of unwholesome beef and livestock in the state.
He said government had just awarded contracts for the building of the veterinary hospital and laboratory testing centre. He added that the proposed abattoir the government was planning to build will cost several billions of naira.
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