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Federal Govt Alerts The Public Over Poisoned Animals At Cattle Market

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Federal Govt Alerts The Public Over Poisoned Animals At Cattle Market

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security has warned the general public about the outbreak of poison in trade animals which occurred at Mandate Cattle Market, located near the College of Arabic and Islamic Legal Studies at Adewole, Ilorin, Kwara State.

According to a statement published by the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Temitope Fashedemi, on Thursday, May 23, 2024, there have been reports of mortality in the herd, with affected animals exhibiting signs such as hypersalivation, weakness, and recumbency.

A report from Kwara State Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development indicated that death in herds occurred at this market on Saturday, 20th April, 2024. The outcome of the study found that animals had grazed on the forage that was fumigated with organophosphate chemical before the incident.

“The report further stated that clinical signs observed were hypersalivation, weakness, and recumbency. On noticing this, the herders decided to slaughter 7 of the very weakly affected animals for public consumption. This has public health risks, and the consequences may be very severe in the food chain,” the statement says.

“It is important to note however, that there is a Rapid Response Team (RRT) in every state of the Federation, made up of a Federal Epidemiology Officer, State Director, Veterinary Services and State Epidemiology Officer, who have been adequately trained by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security for emergencies such as this.

“In this particular instance, the RRT in Kwara State in collaboration with the State Government’s task force, swiftly swung into action to trace and confiscate the meat from the slaughtered animal; these were subsequently disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner.

“The report added that 40 suspected poisoned animals were treated with organophosphate antidotes, and they responded with marked improvement in their health, leading to recovery.”

Other actions taken included the following:

· Cleaning and disinfection of the abattoir where the carcasses were dressed.
· Creation of public awareness on the danger of consuming meat from affected slaughter animals was issued.
· Collection of blood and tissue samples for laboratory testing and analysis.

“To avert the future occurrence of this bad and hazardous agricultural practice, the Ministry wishes to inform the General Public that:

i. There is danger in consuming unwholesome meat and other food of animal origin, especially contaminated with organophosphate.
ii. Meat for human consumption should be purchased at registered, government/private approved spots such as abattoirs, slaughter slabs, meat shops, etc. Such products must have been certified wholesome, and fit for consumption by a registered veterinarian.
iii. Meat from dead animals is unwholesome and should not be consumed.
iv. With a withdrawal period of 14 -21 days after injection, ingestion and/or application of drugs or chemicals preparation on animals should be strictly observed before products from such animals are certified for consumption.
v. Dead animals should be properly disposed of with the aid of veterinarians and environmental health officers.
vi. Report and diseased animals or suspected to be diseased to the nearest veterinary clinics/hospital or animal health services providers.
vii. People who may have a genuine reason to apply chemicals on open farmlands or fields should please notify their host communities to avoid grazing animals on such fields for at least one week.

“The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security wishes to assure the general public that it will, through its Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services continue to work with States Veterinary Service in synergy to ensure that best veterinary and agricultural practices are observed especially for disease, agricultural pests and hazard prevention and control, with the professional motive of enhancing Animal Welfare and ensuring availability of wholesome food of animal origin.”

A Gentle Reminder: Every obstacle is a stepping stone, every morning; a chance to go again, and those little steps take you closer to your dream.

Nnamdi Okoli

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