Even if chicken, beef and pork are in abundance, some Nigerians, especially those from Cross River and Akwa Ibom State, may not be convinced to stop eating dog meat, reports say.
“404,” as it is called in those areas, has caused several deaths in cases of infected dog meat. Still it is alarming that Nigeria’s dog meat trade and consumption increases by the day. The Illness and disease directly connected to eating dog meat has the potential to cause catastrophe in a population of over 180 million people, should there be an outbreak.
By now Nigerians should have known the implications of eating such animals. Ebola outbreak was said to spread through contact with monkeys and bush meat. Lassa Fever sneaked into the country through rats. Even with chicken, no one is safe, as there is the underlining fear of bird flu. Now dogs are enlisted on the “Eat Not” animals in Nigeria. Although trading dog meat is lucrative in some part of the country, serving as a means of livelihood for some people, the growing number of dog owners (for pet), live in constant fear, that one day their companion and investment will end up in someone’s pot of soup.
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Aside the health implications of eating dog meat, the trust broken by dog thieves is unfathomable when they steal or lure people’s dog to a butcher house, selling it at outrageously low prices. Dogs are abused often, even with outside consumption. Some are killed and the fur is skinned out and sold to designers, furniture makers and decorators, who use the skin as materials to produce chairs, costumes, among other unique items.
The treatment of dogs and even cats in Nigeria is unacceptable. These animals are forced into cages and transported through thousands of miles, and Nigeria exports dog meat to Niger, Ghana and other west African countries. The exhausted dogs are left vulnerable to infection by surrounding dead and dying dogs who could not survive the trip. By the time these dogs get to the markets, they are exhausted, weak and even infected, therefore unsafe for food. The exhausted, after being sold and bundled back into their cages, are taken to dog slaughterhouses, where they face a brutally violent death. This is slavery, and abuse to man’s most trusted companion.
Security laws and regulations guiding Nigeria should also cover her animals, and consequently engage police and magistrates to be in sympathy with Nigeria’s animal cruelty laws, to implement and enforce them. Health-wise, local residents and international tourists are placed in jeopardy because of the constant threat from transmittable diseases such as rabies, . to dog trade and consumption.
It is unfortunate that Nigeria’s positive new image is tainted by the existence of this cruel dog and cat meat trade, which casts a negative shadow over the country. Dogs and cats are companion animals and not food items, that is why they live around man and not far off in the bush.
To that effect, the Fight Dog Meat Campaign was launched to help fight for dogs and cats in the meat trade. The goal is to speak out for these animals and persuade the Presidency of Nigeria to do the following:
- Implement existing laws against animal cruelty, maltreatment and neglect.
- Provide funding for trap, neuter and release programs to prevent street dogs and cats from breeding.
- Implement laws to make owners responsible for their dogs, to prohibit dogs loitering on streets.
- Ban dog and cat meat in Nigeria and shut the trade down.
- All dogs and cats to be vaccinated against rabies.
To join this campaign visit the . page of the forum and the website: Fight Dog Meat.
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