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A Vigilance raid had exposed unhygienic conditions at unauthorised slaughterhouses
Corporation’s abattoir functioning without a veterinary doctor
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The City Corporation is preparing a crackdown on unauthorised slaughterhouses and meat shops. The Health Department of the civic body has set up a special squad to carry out raids on illegal abattoirs.
The move follows a recent raid carried out by the Vigilance Department that exposed unhygienic conditions at unauthorised slaughterhouses at Attakulangara, Bismi Nagar and Kunjalamoodu.
Vigilance officials also detected lapses in the functioning of the Corporation’s abattoir at Kunnukuzhy. The team found that the abattoir had been functioning without a veterinary doctor and the animals were slaughtered without being examined.
Health officer Dr. D.Sreekumar said the Corporation was awaiting the government’s response to its request to post veterinary surgeons on deputation from the Animal Husbandry Department.
There are more than 200 licensed meat stalls in the 86 wards of the Corporation. However, not even 10 percent of the meat sold through these stalls is slaughtered at the abattoir.
Last December, the High Court had ordered local bodies across the State to close down illegal slaughterhouses and meat shops. The Corporation’s abattoir at Kunnukuzhy is hamstrung by the absence of a full-time veterinary surgeon.
The veterinary surgeon is responsible for ante-mortem examination of the animal and post-mortem inspection of the meat to eliminate the risk of bacterial infection, zoonotic diseases and food poisoning. “Some of the animals brought for slaughter are diseased. Mastitis is a commonly observed disease,” says a civic official.
The ante-mortem examination involves a visual inspection to detect pregnancy, wounds or diseases. Abnormal respiration, behaviour, gait, posture, discharges, colour or odour can be a giveaway. During the post-mortem examination, the veterinary surgeon inspects the muscles, lungs and liver. Samples are subjected to detailed tests for diseases, such as anthrax and tuberculosis.
Diseased animals and contaminated meat are eliminated from public meat supply.
Corporation officials admitted that ante-mortem examination of the animals was being bypassed in the absence of a veterinary surgeon. Only 30 animals are slaughtered at the Kunnukuzhy abattoir, against a capacity of 60.
In the absence of service abattoirs in close proximity, unauthorised killing of animals for meat is prevalent all over the city.
The major portion of the daily demand for meat is met by unhygienic slaughter sheds attached to the city markets.
Animals are butchered on the premises of hotels and houses in brazen violation of public health safeguards. Civic officials involved in previous operations to curb illegal slaughter have often had to retreat in the face of stiff resistance.
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