(ERGO) – Butchers in Baidoa, in southern Somalia’s South West state, have been following new rules set by the government requiring veterinary approval before the slaughter of animals for meat sales.
According to the director of the livestock ministry, Hassan Ismail Isack, the state has succeeded in implementing new measures to control the quality of meat sold for human consumption.
A directive was issued on 24 March, banning slaughter before inspection.
“Since the directive was issued, around 1,024 animals including camels, cattle and goats have been slaughtered and all of them were inspected for potential health risks,” Isack told Radio Ergo.
In January, the ministry carried out a survey to assess the health of livestock in local markets. Ministry officials also held discussions with slaughterhouses and butchers’ associations in Baidoa to sensitise them about the change in the law.
“The ministry wants to ensure all meat is fit for human consumption and to achieve that we decided to increase our cooperation with those in the market and with the butchers,” he stated.
Livestock are being inspected for the presence of bovine tuberculosis and smallpox, as well as other diseases.
Three animals were found with a high fever during the inspections, which led to further checks. No disease was identified but the three animals were quarantined for safety and treated.
Animals cleared as fit by the veterinarians are marked with an ink brand.
The local livestock traders, pastoralists and residents have expressed mixed reactions about the new regulations.
Mohamed Adan Hassan, a local resident of Baidoa, welcomed the move for public health and safety reasons, noting that he could now feel confident about the meat sold in the markets.
“This is the first time I am seeing the government carrying out measures to avert disease being transmitted through animal meat,” he said.
“Confidence in the authorities will be high if the exercise goes smoothly, but we as the public, especially the traders, must also collaborate with the government,” he added.
The traders, on the other hand, were more wary about the benefits to business.
Derow Mohamed Isack, a butcher in Baidoa, said the process was time consuming and undermined butchers’ experience and traditional knowledge.
“Normally, butchers buy animals early in the morning to slaughter and distribute the meat immediately. But now business will take more time, which complicates our work and may cause economic losses, as some of the meat may not get sold before the end of the day,” he said.
Derow said he was concerned that the process was taking too long to complete, with butchers having to queue for up to six hours to have an animal they had bought inspected. If an animal were to be declared as unfit, the butcher who had already bought it would lose money.