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January 16, 2019

No meat for Idd, Wajir butcheries closed over RVF

Livestock at the Garissa market on on June 7,2018 during market day.Photo Stephen Astariko
Livestock at the Garissa market on on June 7,2018 during market day.Photo Stephen Astariko

Wajir butchers are suffering from the ban on meat sales following the outbreak of Rift Valley Fever. They have called for scrupulous inspections instead.

Residents, however, welcomed the ban on sale of meat and milk projects.

Many animals are slaughtered for the festival of Idd, which is expected to fall on Friday. There will be no meat for banquets.

The  highly contagious disease was first reported last week. Five people and more than 50 animals have died. Butcheries across the county have been closed. 

Livestock and Agriculture executive Yussuf Abdi yesterday said the ban will remain in force until the disease is contained.

“To control the outbreak, we’ve banned sale and supply of livestock products such as milk and meat in all six subcounties,” he said.

Butchery owners criticised the blanket ban. Hussein Jelle said it would have been better to ensure all meat is inspected and butchers and livestock owners consulted.

“The move was in bad faith. What is so difficult about inspecting meat after slaughter before allowing it to be sold?” he asked. “Some of us depend on this business to support our families.”

Residents dismissed complaints by butchers saying they should be concerned about their customers well-being.

Abdiwahab Noor said human  lives are more important than the traders’ profits.

“We can go without meat for days or weeks,” he said.

The authorities placed  Wajir under surveillance last week. Patients are no longer referred to facilities outside the county. This is meant to contain spread of the virus.

In Wajir, the livestock sector is the backbone of the economy. A ban hurts many livelihoods.

In Mandera county, Veterinary Services director Claudio Sortum yesterday said no case had been reported.

He said the  outbreak in Wajir is worrying.

“We caution our livestock keepers to be on high alert as  this disease has caused deaths in Wajir,” Sortum told the press in Mandera town.

He urged residents in areas bordering Wajir county to be on the lookout.

“Pastoralists in Danaba, Shirshir, Elrhamu, Dandu, Kutulo and Burumayo and other areas bordering Wajir should report any suspected symptoms of this disease to our officers immediately,” Sortum said.

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