By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja

As animals remain a major issue of conflict in Nigeria, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, Friday, explained that the National Council on Animal Welfare, NCAW,  was inaugurated to provide clear roadmap for successful implementation of animal welfare policies and programmes.

Abubakar during the inauguration charged members of the Council to ensure regulation of animal welfare in Nigeria in line with global best practices.

He added that the inauguration was apt and timely, because it is a step in the right direction that would chart a new course for the implementation of animal welfare practices in Nigeria.

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He said: “It is our duty to ensure that animals are treated humanely, responsibly and devoid of stress, hunger, anxiety and pain.

“Animal welfare is the quality of life enjoyed by an animal in its lifetime and the consciousness of how healthy it is managed in its surroundings.

“We shall continue to do our best within the available resources at our disposal as we look forward to support from Non-Governmental Organizations, NGOs and other stakeholders in this domain to ensure that together we improve animal welfare practice in Nigeria on a sustainable basis.

“Nigeria Animal Welfare Strategy was developed and approved by the National Council on Agriculture and Rural Development, NCARD, in 2016 and in furtherance of the implementation of the policy.

“The Ministry stepped up efforts towards introducing global best practices in Nigeria’s Animal Welfare Strategy particularly for the Livestock and poultry industry.”

Meanwhile, the Minister disclosed that the Council would have both steering and technical Committees who members would chair the various animal welfare technical working groups under the leadership of Chief Veterinary Officer Nigeria / Director, Federal Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services.

However, he (Abubakar) tasked the Council to provide clear roadmap that would ensure a successful implementation of animal welfare policies and programmes for the country.

Earlier, the Director, Federal Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Maimuna Habib, said inaugurating the council became imperative basically aimed at formulating national standard for use and care of animals.

Habib also stated that the inauguration would serve as catalyst for the implementation of policies on matters concerning the general care of animals, in terms of research, teaching and mandatory testing of animal products in the country.

She also said the Council in place now would further create awareness and sensitize relevant stakeholders on good Animal Welfare practices.

According to her, the committee would draw its guidelines and principles in its own area including companion animals, livestock and production animals, aquatic animals, and others.

Member of the Council were drawn from the Military, Para-Military, Veterinary Teaching Hospitals, Deans of Faculties of Veterinary Institutes in Nigeria, and others.

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