The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar has 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.
Speaking during the committee inauguration in his office in Abuja, the minister posited that animal welfare is the quality of life enjoyed by an animal in its lifetime and the consciousness of how healthy it is managed in its surroundings.
“We must ensure that animals are treated humanely, responsibly and devoid of stress, hunger, anxiety and pain,” he said.
The minister pointed out that the 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 stepped up efforts toward introducing global best practices in Nigeria’s Animal Welfare Strategy, particularly for the livestock and poultry industry.
Abubakar 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.
He added that the inauguration of NCAW was apt and timely and 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.
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 the Chief Veterinary Officer of Nigeria and the director, Federal Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services.
He, therefore, tasked the council with the provision of a clear roadmap that would ensure the successful implementation of animal welfare policies and programmes for the country.
In his remarks, the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Sen. Adeleke Mamora stressed 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, the director, Federal Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services, Dr. Maimuna Habib stated the inaugurating of the council was aimed at formulating national standards for the use and care of animals, as well as implementing 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 a medium for awareness-creation and sensitisation of relevant stakeholders on good animal welfare practices noting that NCAW would operate a committee system.
Speaking further, Dr. Habib said the committee would draw its guidelines and principles in areas such as companion animals, livestock and production animals, aquatic animals amongst others.
A statement by the ministry’s director of information, signed by Eremah Anthonia, said the council members were drawn from the military, para-military, veterinary teaching hospitals, deans of faculties of veterinary institutes in Nigeria amongst others.