By Gabriel Olawale
Nigeria Veterinary Medical Association, NVMA, Lagos chapter has called for proper handling of processed meat and meat products in the country.
The Association Chairman, Dr. Alao Mobolaji said consumption of poorly handled meat and meat products often comes with health risks and diseases that could be fatal.
“Meat protein remains a major source of protein supplement for the majority of the human population, and as such the safety and wholesomeness of this meat must be ensured in order to maintain the quality of health of the people.
Mobolaji also called for passage of a law that will encourage responsible dog ownership following the annual recurrence of deaths from a rabid dog bite in Lagos State.
“Every year, there are cases of rabies from dog bites in Lagos State and they often result in death, but this can be prevented if the Lagos State government can pass a law that will encourage a responsible dog ownership.
Giving an account of stewardship at the 2018 World Veterinary Day commemoration in Lagos, Mobolaji said that as an association, they have carried out series of enlightenment campaign on meat hygiene and free vaccination of dogs against rabid across the state.
“On several occasions, we have sensitised butchers and meat sellers on the dangers of unwholesome practices in their slaughtering processes and sales of meat and meat products, especially slaughtering of meat animals on the bare floor. “We call on meat vendors to stop sales of meat in open unhygienic trays and table, where they are exposed to flies and stop the bare handling of meat to be sold. But rather sell in hygienic selling wares, neatly wrapped in cellophane and stored in a refrigerating system.
“Aside from free vaccination of dogs and school enlightenment programmes for students, we encourage dog owners to vaccinate their dogs annually to keep them protected against rabies.
On his part, National President of the Association, Dr. Godwin Abonyi called on governments at all levels and the private sector to optimally utilize the available vast and skilled veterinary manpower in the country to tackle the multiple challenges facing the Nigerian’s Agriculture sector.
“There is an urgent need for government to create a separate and full-fledged Ministry of Veterinary and Livestock Resources to maximize the huge potentials and tackle the festering security challenges.
In his keynote Address titled, “Role of Veterinary Professional in Sustainable Development to Improve Livelihoods, Food Security and Safety,” Group Managing Director, Amo Bygn and Diversay Solutions, Dr. Ayoola Oduntan said that Nigeria consume over 1.5 million tones of chicken annually and produces only 450,000 tones, “of which 60 per cent of our 180 million population are youths and more than 50 per cent are unemployed.”
Oduntan who was represented by the General Manager Policy and Strategy, Dr. Agboola Belgore said that Nigeria needs to learn from countries which have used effective technology, huge market size and farmer subsidy to their advantage.