The Niger Government on Wednesday expressed concern over health hazards inherent in the sale of contaminated livestock and meat to unsuspecting buyers by unscrupulous rearers and butchers in the state.
Zakari Bawa, the state Commissioner for Livestock and Fisheries, express the worry at a news conference at Government House, Minna.
Mr Bawa said that the activities of “these dubious business men” cut across the 25 local government areas in the state, hence the need to sensitise the people.
“The state government discovered that some unscrupulous elements are inducing and slaughtering contaminated animals for meat.
“This is due to increase in population and consumption; these wicked people have started using drugs, especially antibiotics and other crude methods on the animals.
“Statistics in the state show that between 800 and 1,000 cattle, sheep and goats and over 5,000 chickens are slaughtered daily.
“The use of veterinary drugs in food producing animals has the potential to generate residues which could pose risk to consumer health.
“Butchers and rearers in the state now induce animals with steroid before slaughtering or selling them,” he said.
Mr Bawa said that veterinary drugs or Veterinary Medicinal Products, VMPs, were critically needed to meet the challenges of providing adequate amount of meat in animals.
He said that inducing animals posed health hazards to the consumer and increased the cost of human health care due to problems of drug resistance by infectious disease causing organisms.
“Drugs used in food or meat producing animals can affect the people because of their secretion in edible animal tissues in trace amounts usually called residues either direct and short term hazards or indirect and long term hazards,” he said.
Danjuma Sallau, the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, said that government had embarked on sensitisation, warning that anyone caught would pay a fine of N500,000.