Federal Ministry of Agriculture gives update on poisoned animals at Ilorin Market

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security has reassured the public that it will keep collaborating with States Veterinary Services to ensure that the best veterinary and agricultural practices are followed.

According to the Ministry, this includes working specifically on disease, agricultural pests, and hazard prevention and control to improve animal welfare and guarantee the availability of healthy food derived from animals.

This followed the incident of poisoned trade animals at Mandate Cattle Market, near the College of Arabic and Islamic Legal Studies at Adewole, Ilorin, Kwara State on Saturday, April 20, 2024, according to a report from the Kwara State Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Findings indicated that before the incident, the animals had been grazing on forage that had been fumigated with an organophosphate chemical.

The report further stated that the 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 Ministry noted that a Rapid Response Team (RRT) is present in every state of the Federation, consisting of the Federal Epidemiology Officer, State Director, Veterinary Services and State Epidemiology Officer, adequately trained by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security for emergencies.   

The RRT in Kwara State in collaboration with the State Government’s task force, reportedly acted swiftly 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.

·  Public awareness on the danger of consuming meat from affected slaughtered 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 diseased animals or suspected diseased animals to the nearest veterinary clinics/hospital or animal health services providers.

vii.   People with 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.

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