If you are a meat lover from Eldoret town and its environs, chances are that you might have consumed meat from an uninspected animal-probably sickly or already dead by the time of slaughter.
On Saturday, public health officials from Uasin Gishu County busted a group of unscrupulous traders at Kambi Somali ferrying 12 cows, four dead, to a nearby abattoir for slaughter before being distributed to various eateries and butcheries. The remaining eight were too weak to stand on their own.
County Health Executive Everlyne Rotich who led the veterinary officers and police officers in the sting operation where four suspects were nabbed regretted that her office had received numerous complaints of traders slaughtering the uninspected animals, popularly referred to as “okoa” before being sold to unsuspecting members of the public.
“Those who are slaughtering such animals are just conspiring to decimate people due to greed for money. As the county administration we are committed to ensuring that the food the residents consume on a daily basis is safe and fit for human consumption,” said the health official.
She said acting on a tip-off from members of the public, health officials rushed to the scene and were able to intercept the animals before slaughter.
“We suspect such animals have been slaughtered before and it was by luck our officers managed to bust the traders. I am appealing for concerted efforts from all stakeholders to stem out such vices,” she said.
Surveillance has been heightened especially during the festive season to block all traders with ill motive of sneaking unsafe meat into the tables of residents.
When The Standard visited the scene, locals who are aware of the vice confided that slaughtering ‘okoa’ is a common practice. “This is the norm here; we are wondering why the county officials acted this late. Animals are slaughtered and then sold to the unsuspecting public. And some officials in the public health department might have been compromised to allow such to happen,” claimed Nelson Mwango.
According to Mr Mwango, dishonest traders have been going around to farms in search of sickly or even a dead animals for purchase.
“Some farmers eager to make money from the dying animals agree to take the money. The animals are then bundled into trucks and transported to the abattoir and hurriedly slaughtered,” he said.
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