The sale, slaughter, and consumption of meat have been banned in the Upper East part of Ghana following a deadly Anthrax outbreak.
This move, however, has come with some resistance from butchers and livestock sellers who say the directive was a surprise to them.
The month-long ban also prevents the movement of animals such as donkeys, goats, sheep, and cattle in and outside the region.
Butcher sells his meat in the Upper East region. Image: Tanko Muhammed Rabiu for 3news.com
“On June 1, 2023, the Regional Health Directorate received notification for two Anthrax cases with one death in Binduri District following the consumption of dead cattle,” a statement from the Upper East Regional office of the Ghana Health Service said. Thirteen other suspected human cases have also been reported.
The outbreak is in Binduri, Bawku West, Talensi, and Bolgatanga Municipality. But the regional authorities are extending the preventive measures across the entire region.
Anthrax is a serious disease in livestock caused by a bacterium. Humans get infected when they come in contact with or consume infected livestock. A high case of fatality rate related to this disease among livestock is reported mostly in the Northern part of Ghana.
Roasted cow feet on display. Image: Tanko Mohammed Rabiu for 3news.com
The restrictions on the sale, slaughtering, and consumption of animals and their products which are in full force in the Upper East region is being resisted by butchers and animal dealers according to Tanko Mohammed Rabiu, TV3's Upper East regional correspondent.
The butchers and animal dealers’ associations say they were not involved in the decision-making and what impact it would have on their livelihoods.
“If the ban was lifted today I will be very happy,” said Tembil Timothy, Upper East regional secretary of the Butchers Association. “ They are alleging that Anthrax is killing people but the ban on the sale of meat and all these things is bringing hardship on people. It's the same death.”
Tambil Timothy. Image:Tanko Mohammed Rabiu for 3news.com
Another livestock seller lamented the money he is projecting to lose due to the ban. “It's an emergency, they didn’t inform us so we use our money, and went to the villages to buy the animals. Now they have stopped [them] that they shouldn't move an inch. It will block our business.”
The Upper East Regional authorities have begun contact tracing efforts aimed at containing the disease and a vaccination exercise to rid the region of the outbreak.
While these efforts are ongoing, the regional chairman of the Butchers association Inusah Samari says he is “ praying that everything goes well so they can get rid of the disease so we can continue our work.”