Ghanaians Advised to Protect the Welfare of Animals

Ghanaians have been advised to protect the welfare of animals in order to improve the quality of meat for consumption. The call was made at the first Annual Animal Welfare Symposium organised by the West Africa Centre for the Protection of Animal Welfare (WACPAW) and Eyes on Animals, Netherlands, in collaboration with the Department of Animal Science, University of Cape Coast. Speaking at the function, an Associate Professor of Veterinary Medicine, Sir Kt. Anthony Annan-Prah, stated that good husbandry, handling, transportation and slaughter practices give good and acceptable meat for consumption. According to him, there was the need to formulate legislation to ensure that these phases are well carried out. Sir Kt. (Prof.) Annan-Prah said there were about 8.7 million animal species on earth with 6.5 million on land and 2.2 million dwelling in the ocean depths. He indicated that in most developed countries like the United States of America, there were laws governing transportation and slaughter of animals. He said the animal should be in good health before being transported or slaughtered adding that the truck transporting the animals should also not be overloaded. A Senior Lecturer and Coordinator of the Meat Processing Unit, Dr. Moses Teye, said animal welfare has direct effect on meat quality. “Wrong animal handling even results in short shelf life of our meat and products, hence all consumers must ensure animals are treated well, before patronising their meat,” he explained. Dr. Teye noted that animal welfare was new to developing countries and therefore, out of ignorance, people do not handle animal well. “When the welfare of animal is protected, it is not a favour done the animal, but the welfare protector, rather benefits,” he intimated. Dr. Teye who is also a fellow of WACPAW said through the collaboration between UCC and Eyes of Animal, Netherlands, such sensitisation programmes would be organised on regular basis to educate the general public on the welfare needs of animals. He said through the collaboration, Eyes on Animal, Netherlands has donated a humanely slaughter device to the Meat Processing Unit of UCC. The Executive Director of WACPAW, Abdul-Rahman Safari, appealed to government and stakeholders to come up with legislations and policies that seek to regulate and improve the welfare of animals in Ghana. “It is our wish and hope of WACPAW that in the very near future, majority of our population would come to the realisation that animals are part of our lives and that we need to change our attitudes towards them to improve their welfare,” he noted.