Anthrax: Don’t slaughter sick, dead animals, expert urges butchers

A veterinary public health expert, Dr Jolaoso Adetunji, has advised butchers against rushing to slaughter sick or dead animals in order to prevent the spread of anthrax in the country.

Adetunji gave the charge while addressing a cross-section of animal market workers at a workshop on identification, prevention and control of zoonotic diseases and others for stakeholders in livestock industry held in Lagos on Wednesday.

He said: “What makes anthrax special is that it is a special organism that stays in the soil and it can live in the soil for decades, it is covered by a shell that protects it. It stays in that shell until it finds an animal or human being to infect. Then when it infects the person, the consequences are very bad, especially when there is no urgent treatment.

“Anthrax is a very resistant organism; it can live in water for many years. The first thing is to understand the bacteria, break its cycle and control it. Keep clean, don’t quickly slaughter dead animals because it happens in some abattoirs. When an animal is sick they rush to slaughter and sell to people. A lot of them might have anthrax and that is the major source.”

The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Abisola Olusanya, said the ministry, through its monitoring and enforcement compliant unit, had been going around and taking illegal slaughter slabs out of the way.

“It is an on-going exercise, the only thing is that we need more enforcement. We need more officials to help us to curb this because as you are shutting one illegal slaughter slab before you wake up the next day, another one has sprung up. So, it is more of a human capacity thing and we are trying to get more people to come into this space towards ensuring that we have the right enforcement in place,” she added.