April 30, 2015 – A bill that will make the production and distribution of badly processed meat an offence is in the process of being enacted into law by the Lagos State House of Assembly.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting on the Bill for A Law to Provide for the establishment of Lagos State Meat Regulatory Authority and for Connected Purposes, Commissioner for Agriculture and Co-operatives, Prince Gbolahan Lawal said that the meat industry has a lot of potentials.
He stated that the law would make it mandatory for all meat to be slaughtered at approved abattoirs, while the Agriculture Commissioner would release a statement during festive periods to allow people slaughter all kinds of animals in their homes.
The Commissioner revealed that the agency that would be established to regulate the abattoirs through the agency does not have to be headed by a veterinary doctor since what matters is for the person to be an administrator.
He added that the Bill would enhance the productivity of butchers and animal merchants and that the veterinary department of the Ministry of Agriculture has been overstretched and that it is better to have a regulatory department that would be concerned about meat production solely.
“There are still other jobs that the veterinary department would do. The industry is large in a state that slaughters about 5,000 herds of cattle everyday except on Sundays. So, the agency would just focus on red meat industry.
“A lot of people travel abroad and see how they do it there. It is just a Bill, so it is left for the House of Assembly to decide on what to do next,” he said.
The Chairman, House of Assembly Committee on Agriculture, Co-operatives and Rural Development, Hon. Olanrewaju Ibrahim Layode also said that all animals should be slaughtered at approved abattoirs and that the Bill would cater for the production of quality animals.
“We will give certificates for all animals that would be slaughtered. We will control all our borders and our veterinary doctors are expected to control all the animals that come into the state,” he said.
Layode said that illegal abattoirs are scattered all over the state, but that efforts would be made to standardize and approve some of them so that they would start processing healthy animals for human consumption. The lawmaker added that a task force that would ensure standard in the sector would be set-up, while assuring the stakeholders that all their fears would be addressed in the proposed law.
In his contribution, the Director of Veterinary Services in the state Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Ganiyu Omotosho Adams revealed that 25 veterinary doctors in the state, including him, are undergoing training on meat value from a foreign consultant.
He advised that the amendment to the existing Meat Edict, which is coming in form of the Bill, should serve as a complement to the edict and that the edict should not be repealed.
Adams also suggested that the proposed board should be composed of qualified veterinary doctors and that the abbatoirs in the state should also be controlled by veterinary doctors.