The Federal Government on Friday inaugurated the National Council on Animal Welfare (NCAW), to ensure the regulation of animal welfare in Nigeria in line with global best practices.
A statement by Anthonia Eremah, the Assistant Chief Information Officer of the ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development announced this on Friday in Abuja.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, while inaugurating the council, described animal welfare as the quality of life enjoyed by an animal in its lifetime and the consciousness of how healthy it is managed in its surroundings.
” It is our duty to ensure that animals are treated humanely, responsibly and devoid of stress, hunger, anxiety and pain,” he said.
Abubakar said 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.
The minister said 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.
” We shall continue to do our best within the available resources at our disposal as we look forward to support from Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and other stakeholders in this domain to ensure that together we improve animal welfare practice in Nigeria on a sustainable basis,” he said.
He said that the council would have both steering and technical Committees.
He said 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, Sen. Adeleke Mamora said there was 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.
Dr Maimuna Habib, Director, Federal Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services, said the inauguration of the council was aimed at formulating national standard for use and care of animals.
She also said it was to implement policies on matters concerning the general care of animals in research, teaching and mandatory testing of products in Nigeria.
Habib said the meeting would serve as medium for awareness creation/ sensitisation of relevant stakeholders on good Animal Welfare practices adding that NCAW would operate committee system.
She further said that 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.
The Nigeria Animal Welfare Strategy was developed and approved by the National Council on Agriculture and Rural Development (NCARD) in 2016.
In furtherance of the implementation of the policy, the Ministry stepped up efforts toward introducing global best practices in Nigeria’s Animal Welfare Strategy particularly for the Livestock and poultry industry.