Residents of the Federal Capital Territory are expressing concern over the attitude of butchers in the territory who still roast animals with tires.
Aso Chronicle visited some of the slaughterhouses and found that roasting slaughtered animals with tires is still a common practice.
A doctor, Wasiu Itunu, had warned that such practices had great effects on the health of consumers.
He indicated that there is a risk of deposition of heavy metals in the skins of these animals which, in addition to compromising the quality of the meat, are also known to be bioaccumulative with different effects on various organs of the body.
The doctor said the smoke from burning tires released into the environment contains volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particulates and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which reduce air quality.
Soot from tires burned to burn hides is often washed into sewers, contaminating water bodies and soil, and subsequently entering the food chain.
Butchers and people who live and work in environments close to slaughterhouses can inhale VOCs, particulates and PAHs.
Aso Chronicle visited the main Bwari slaughterhouse along the Bwari-Jere road last Friday where butchers were seen roasting cows and goats with motor tyres.
Thick smoke billowed from the slaughterhouse as one of our reporters approached.
One of the butchers who spoke to our reporter said that the butchers had no choice but to use tires because no modern roasting equipment was provided by the relevant authorities and they could no longer pay the cost of firewood.
“One thing is certain, we wash the meat very well after roasting it with tyres.
“Forget those who say it’s dangerous for your health; even medical workers buy the same meat from us, so what are we talking about,’ he said.
A Bwari resident, Alhaja Idayat Musiliu, who was seen buying the meat from the slaughterhouse, said consumers had no choice but to accept what was available.
“It’s not like we don’t know the health implications. But what do we do?” she asked.
At the Kwali slaughterhouse, City News observed some butchers roasting goats with motorcycle tires.
Another butcher was also seen roasting cow heads and thighs using the same method.
Our reporter also observed that butchers were slaughtering cows on the ground in the premises of the slaughterhouse.
Ms Rebecca Ayuba, who runs a restaurant in a car park in Kwali, said she always buys cow heads and tails from butchers, adding that she always hires someone to wash them before cooking for her customers .
“What I do is that even after washing the cow’s head, I will always hire another person to wash it very well and I will wash it again after cutting and cook it very well before selling it to customers. “, she said.
Kwali Butchers Association president Yusuf Sani said his men used tires to roast cows and goats so the meat looked crisp and clean.
“We always ensure that cows and goats are washed thoroughly after using tires so that you don’t smell any smells,” he said.
Also at the Gwagwalada slaughterhouse, a similar method was used to roast cows’ heads and goats, as some butchers were seen using car tires. A butcher, identified as Salihu Bala, said he mainly uses tires to roast cow’s heads and goats due to the scarcity of firewood.
He added that it was easier to use tires to roast cow’s heads and goats because it removed the hair better, making it smoother and cleaner.
“What I do after using tires to roast cows and goats, I make sure I use enough detergent with plenty of water to wash them clean, so you don’t notice any smell,” said he declared.
A customer, Ibrahim Aliyu, who came to buy a cow’s head from the slaughterhouse, said that although using tires to roast animals has health consequences, using tires to remove hair gives meat a clean appearance.
Aso Chronicle also visited the Anagada cattle market located along Zuba-Abuja-Lokoja, where it was observed that butchers mainly use tires to roast slaughtered goats.
Some butchers were seen setting fire to tires after pouring some petrol, while customers stood by waiting to transport the goats on motorbikes to their places of sale.
A goat meat vendor, Alfred Ifeanyi, who said he normally comes from Kubwa to buy between 10 and 12 roast goats daily, added that he was against using tires to roast goats, but he later accepted after discovering that there is barely any hair found on the body of the tire-roasted goat.
Speaking, Anagada Cattle Market Chairman Abdullahi Yahaya said he was well aware of the risk of using tires to roast goats, adding that butchers had decided to use tires due to constant customer complaints that hair was still on the goat’s body parts.
The practice must stop – FCTA
Malam Abubakar Ibrahim, Secretary of the Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat of the Federal Capital Territory, ordered veterinary officials to step up surveillance to check for unhealthy and unhygienic practices in the slaughterhouse.
He said a situation of using tires to roast animals would no longer be accepted.
Ibrahim said this during his visit to Karu Abattoir as a continuation of his familiarization tour with the Secretariat’s projects.
He reiterated the commitment of the FCT Administration to the provision of quality infrastructure in the various slaughterhouses of the territory.
Ibrahim said Abuja was the face of Nigeria, noting that it was imperative for the secretariat to maintain good standards in slaughterhouses.
“Whatever we do; whether services or infrastructure, it must comply with international standards.
“It is therefore imperative that veterinary health officials step up their oversight to ensure that butchers do not use tires to process meat due to the associated health and environmental risks.”
The Secretary directed the Department of Veterinary Services to convene an urgent meeting with the contractors to resolve the issues in order to expedite the completion of the abandoned projects.
Also speaking, FCT Director of Veterinary Services Dr Regina Adulugba said the department was working on installing the gas blowers which have proven to be the best and safest alternative to using of tires.