By Palma Ileye
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar has formally inaugurated the National Council on Animal Welfare, NCAW, with a charge to ensure the regulation of animal welfare in Nigeria, in line with global best practices.
The event which took place in his office, in Abuja, Mahmood referred animal welfare as the quality of life enjoyed by an animal in its lifetime and the consciousness of how healthy it was managed in its surroundings.
In his word, “It is our duty to ensure that animals are treated humanely, responsibly and devoid of stress, hunger, anxiety and pain” Abubakar added.
He pointed out that, Nigeria Animal Welfare Strategy was developed and approved by the National Council on Agriculture and Rural Development, NCARD, in 2016 and in furtherance of the implementation of the policy, the Ministry has stepped up efforts towards introducing global best practices in Nigeria’s Animal Welfare Strategy particularly for the Livestock and poultry industry.
The Minister posited that to achieve the set objectives there was the need to commit resources as well as collaborate with relevant stakeholders to formulate a national standard for the use and care of animals.
Abubakar added that the inauguration of NCAW was apt and timely, noting that, the move would chart a new course for the implementation of Animal welfare practices in Nigeria.
He maintained that, “We shall continue to do our best within the available resources at our disposal as we look forward to support from Non-Governmental Organizations, NGOs and other stakeholders in this domain to ensure that together we improve animal welfare practice in Nigeria on a sustainable basis”.
The Minister opined that the NCAW would have both steering and technical Committees, adding that members of the steering committees would chair the various Animal welfare technical working groups under the leadership of Chief Veterinary Officer Nigeria / Director, Federal Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services.
He, therefore, tasked the Council to provide clear roadmap that would ensure a successful implementation of Animal welfare policies and programmes for the country.
In his remarks, the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Senator Adeleke Mamora stressed on the need for the two Ministries to work together to attain the set goal of taking care of these animals to avoid diseases being transmitted to humans.
In her opening remarks, Director Federal Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services, Dr. Maimuna Habib, stated the inaugurating of the council was aimed at formulating national standard for use and care of animals as well as implement policies on matters concerning the general care of animals in research, teaching and mandatory testing of products in Nigeria.
She added that the meeting would serve as medium for awareness creation/ sensitization of relevant stakeholders on good Animal Welfare practices noting that NCAW would operate committee system.
Speaking further, Dr. Habib said the committee would draw its guidelines and principles in its own area such as companion animals, livestock and production animals, aquatic animals amongst others.
The Council members were drawn from the Military, Para-Military, Veterinary Teaching Hospitals, Deans of Faculties of Veterinary Institutes in Nigeria amongst others.