Nepal Veterinary Association's midnight surprise inspection of the Live Animal Entry Check Point
The biggest festival of Nepal, Dashain is here and along with it the demand for meat surges to its highest throughout the year.
Mutton undoubtedly tops the list as the most popular food item during this festive season. To fulfill this high demand, there is a huge influx of live animals from all over the country as well as from neighboring China and India into the Kathmandu valley. Along with the entry of livestock, there is also a big risk of the entry of deadly Zoonotic diseases as well as other food borne illness caused due to consumption of an unhealthy meat. Besides these, there are also violations of the animal transport guidelines stated by the government which inturn compromises the welfare standards of animals. To keep these threats at bay and ensure a safety of public as well as animal health, the Department of Livestock Services in joint collaborations with other stakeholder organizations have prepared and deployed teams into many live animal markets and quarantine check points surrounding the capital city.
On 14th October, past Sunday, a surprise inspection of the Nagdhunga (Thankot) checkpoint was lead by the Nepal Veterinary Association in coordination with the Nepal police, Veterinary Inspectors from the Central Animal Quarantine and the Department of Livestock services. The Nagdhunga checkpoint is the main entry point into the valley and much of the animals are brought in through it. Taking in consideration the best period of animals entry through the check point, the inspection occurred from 11 pm in the night to 4 am in the morning where the livestock transport vehicles, animal health certificates, suspected public vehicles of carrying animals as well as other unregulated phenomenon relating to the animal transport were examined. The livestock entering were found to be from various parts of the country as well as neighboring India and ranged from goats, mountain goats, chickens, buffaloes and fishes.
The major problem identified during the inspection was the overcrowding of the animals in the transport vehicle, incomplete Animal Health Certificates and skipping registration at the previous quarantine check post. Such vehicles found in violation of the Animal Transport Standards were fined accordingly as per the legal guidelines. The unauthentic suspected animal health certificates were seized by the quarantine office as well as NVA for further investigation and action. Many public buses were found to be carrying a single goat cramped in the back trunk. In such incidents, the animal was removed from the trunk and put inside the passenger bus and the person in charge was left with a warning and was educated regarding the rules. We were on the lookout for any sick, injured or dead animals, but fortunately none were found during the particular night's inspection. One of the major problems encountered during the previous years was towards the buffalo transport, where their nose and tail would be tied to the roof of the vehicle in order to not let them sit. This practice made the animal suffer a lot and was a serious breach in the welfare. This year this practice was not encountered, which could be credited to the previous years' monitoring campaigns, legal actions and educating the businesses regarding animal welfare.
From farm to fridge, is long nonetheless a crucial journey, and is always the duty of the veterinarian to oversee that only healthy meat reaches the general public. The inspections and monitoring by our dedicated veterinarians during this festival has helped to ensure healthy meat to consumers residing in the metropolis.
Dr. Rakesh Chand
Member, Executive committee
Nepal Veterinary Association (NVA)