CATTLE HANDLING, HYGIENE AND SLAUGHTERING TECHNIQUES IN SELECTED CATTLE MARKETS IN ABEOKUTA AND ENVIRONS, OGUN STATE, NIGERIA
The handling, hygiene and slaughtering techniques of cattle in selected cattle markets of Atokun, Randa and Odo-Eran in Abeokuta and environs, Ogun state, Nigeria were assessed. Questionnaires were administered with personal visits to cattle handlers to assess the handling practices and relevant information relating to cattle welfare and slaughtering. Data obtained from this study on the cattle handlers, showed that the literacy level of the rearers and butchers was low, with majority (48.90%) having primary education. The general sanitary conditions at the cattle markets in addition to hygienic practices by the butchers were generally poor. Handling of cattle from the lairage to slaughter slabs was unethical, with the employment of humane practices in the rearing, handling, transporting and slaughtering of cattle rarely observed across the cattle markets. High range of total bacteria count of 6.50 and 8.40 x 105cfu/g and coliform counts of 4.28 to 4.85 x 105cfu/g were observed in the thirty (30) beef samples collected across cattle markets with major isolated organisms being Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus spp. across the abattoirs under study. Results of this study suggest that the welfare of animals in the selected cattle markets is inadequate due to poor housing facilities, inadequate feeding, low medical attention and low literacy level of handlers as well as indiscriminate slaughtering resulting to contamination of beef cuts of the carcass from which they are derived.
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