A few weeks back on social media, massive public attention was drawn to certain appalling and highly unhealthy actions by butchers and meat-sellers at Kwata Abattoir in Anambra State Nigeria. Pictures (as shown below) were provided as evidence showing butchers and meat sellers in Kwata Abattoir washing meat in flooded and highly contaminated gutter water than ran through the abattoir.
It was stated that the flooded gutter water which is contaminated with urine and other biological waste was running from Dike Street to the Abattoir to Iyiagu area. As seen in the pictures, the abattoir butchers wash their meat here before selling to the public for human consumption.
We have previously discussed on the urgent need for public attention and reformation of our abattoirs in Nigeria. In the same discussions, we also provided videos and pictures in our various ongoing activities in different abattoir locations in Nigeria. This is another classic example of such unhealthy meat-processing activities and we continue to voice out our concerns. We restate that these actions have great public health repercussions as we, (the general public and abattoir workers), are exposing ourselves to great health hazards. These include harmful diseases such as E. coli infection, salmonellosis, tuberculosis, typhoid, cholera, and other gastrointestinal diseases. It also predisposes the abattoir workers themselves to occupational injuries, accidents and infections. Furthermore, these activities are put the general public at high risk of disease outbreaks that might affect populations over time if care is not taken especially in our country with limited health facilities.
Also, we reiterate the following recommendations to the local, state and federal governments of Nigeria, Ministry of Agriculture and other relevant public and private institutions on the state of our Abattoirs;
1. Complete physical, institutional and structural upgrade of all abattoirs and slaughterhouses in Nigeria.
2. Consistent provision of basic amenities which must include clean water supply, electricity, housing, relevant working equipment and accessible roads.
3. Provision of work equipment and protective clothing for all workers including butchers, cattle traders, meat-sellers, meat inspection officers and veterinary officers.
4. Improved maintenance and management system in abattoirs.
5. Improved retail systems especially with regards to trading, transport and processing of food animals (cattle, pig, goat, ram etc.) and their meat.
The adage “Prevention is better than cure” not only rings a warning bell at this time, it also strongly indicates that we must collectively act with urgency to save our abattoirs and in turn save our own health.
Share this knowledge, tell someone, and act in your neighborhoods, local governments, village, town and city.
Do your part in ensuring that the government acts accordingly as we work progressively for better healthy living.