World Animal Protection: Uncertainty of factory farms

Dr. Victor Yamo, of  World Animal Protection during the launch of the Pecking Order

KAMPALA:  Factory farming and industrialized animal slaughtering have been cited as dangerous for consumers’ health, potential causes of the next pandemic and environmentally unsustainable.

In the recent launch of Pecking Order in April 2022, need to get away from factory farms was encouraged in support of sustainable environmental sensitive production.

According to Dr. Victor Yamo, of World Animal Protection, there is need to do away with these farms in Africa and look for alternative sensitive production system that is environmentally friendly and sustainable.

‘‘International organizations that have branches in countries like Uganda are said to have discrepancies in their supply chain policies as compared to the acceptable global policies,’’ he warned.

He added that there is need to work with international brands like KFC that are operating in Africa to develop and domesticate international policies into African context.

Policies around animal welfare and food safety must prioritize consumer safety.

These organizations must develop elaborate food waste because there is a lot of waste from these operations.

“If you look at Africa, these global brands are underperforming. But when you look at their operations in Germany and France, they are doing very well with emphasis on policies regarding anima safety, antimicrobial, and bacteria,’’ he said.

In their study, Dr. Yamo says, the best performing companies were KFC Germany and KFC France but when you look at the performance in Kenya and Uganda, their performance is very low.

This illustrates how these organizations are not concerned about consumer safety in Africa.

He warned: “It simply means the consumer is at risk of consuming substandard and unsafe products.’’

In a survey conducted in Kenya by World Animal Protection in 2022, it revealed traces of antibiotic residues in food.

It means that if the consumer eats this contaminated product there is a possibility and likelihood that antibiotics resistant genes will cross on to the normal bacteria which will lead to antibiotic resistant genes in the human beings.

Dr. Yamo says that this will lead to antimicrobial resistance that means drugs known to treat animals can no longer treat human subjects because human beings have consumed drugs in the food.

“What people don’t understand is that the active ingredient in the veterinary product is the same in the human product,’’ he confirmed.

The launched report highlights the cruelty of animals seen at different levels of transportation and slaughter.

Dr. Yamo advised that animal transportation must be as comfortable as possible. He said transportation tracks must be spacious and well ventilated.

‘‘The animals must be provided with water and if they are being transported for more than 8 hours,’’ he said.

The slaughter process should also be humane and the animal should be slaughtered with minimum pain.

‘‘Pain must be reduced as much as possible by getting animal unconscious long enough to cut the neck so that it is able to bleed,’’ he said.

Dr. Yamo explained that the animals should not be slaughtered as soon as they are delivered. He said they need to take some time to stabilize to get rid of the transportation process.

‘‘If you slaughter animal immediately you will end up with a product that is not good quality because of the stress that releases certain hormones into the animal’s meat,’’ he advised.

He added that if the animals have been walking, that walking releases a lactic acid into the meat which makes the meat stuff. The animal needs to be given time to rest to get rid of the lactic acid.

Anti mortem is very important in this process and should be done when animals are relaxing.

This process involves evaluation or inspection of the animal for signs and symptoms of sickness. Any animal that displays signs any of disease should not be slaughtered.

‘‘If we slaughter sick animals, we risk the health of the consumers who may contract dangerous diseases like anthrax,’’ he warned.

Uganda does not have a specific policy on animal welfare but there exists legal framework that govern animal welfare including the Animals Prevention of Cruelty Act that prevents cruelty on animals.

This Act provides provisions for the offense of animal cruelty. The act also allows the court to order the destruction of an animal when the animal’s owner has been convicted of an offense of animal cruelty and if the court is satisfied it would be cruel to keep the animal alive.

‘‘Any person who cruelly beats, kicks, tortures, or infuriates any animal is liable for conviction,’’ act states.

Dr. Yamo insists on the need for Agroecological production systems which creates balance between animals and plants carbon footprints.

“Between 15-30% of greenhouse emissions come from animals, we want to reduce factory farming which is an intensive farming system in order to reduce the greenhouse emissions,” insisted Dr. Yamo.

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