The district coordination officer (DCO) Naseem Sadiq has launched a campaign to curb the sale of substandard and unhygienic meat in the district following an outbreak of gastric diseases in Chak 35-RB in the last week. Doctors said that the cause of the outbreak was the sale of donkey and dog meat at several meat shops in the area.
A total of fifteen butchers were booked in four days by raiding teams of the Health Department in this regard and two were sent behind bars. “We have arrested the two store owners who have been selling donkey meat. They also admitted to selling dog meat,” said Health Department official Karamat Shah.
“The men said that few people were able to tell the difference between the meat and that it was sold much cheaper,” he said.
Over 30 people were admitted to the DHQ hospital as well as Allied Hospital after they experienced vomiting and other gastric symptoms following the consumption of the meat. “The patients are suffering because they are not used to such meat. We have tested samples of the meat from the shops and the samples tested as dog and donkey meat,” said lab attendant Mubashar. A Livestock Department official Haider Shah said that the DCO had launched a vigorous campaign to arrest the culprits and health department officials were checking all meat shops in the area. Raids have been conducted in various parts of the district and 15 butchers were booked for selling substandard and water-fed meat.
“Two butchers have been arrested for selling donkey and dog to store owners. One of the regular buyers is a restaurant owner and we have taken him into custody as well,” Shah said.
The raiding teams got cases registered against them while further action is under progress. DCO Sadiq has ordered that the meat at all the shops be confiscated and sent for testing. Raid officers confiscated over 100 kilograms of meat on Friday and Thursday and destroyed the entire stock.
Livestock district officer (DO) Dr Abdur Rehman said that the patients at Allied Hospital had identified two butchers who had been selling the donkey meat in the district. “When we began questioning patients we realised that most of them bought meat from two shops in Chak 34-RB and nearly all the patients belonged from this area,” said Rehman. “Upon investigation we discovered that they were being fed dog and donkey meat,” he added.
A team of veterinary doctors has also been deployed to test the meat samples and check the quality of stock at different markets. “Most people build an immunity to slightly old or water-fed meat but nearly anyone being fed donkey or dog meat is likely to have a reaction,” said veterinary doctor Dr Asif Butt.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2011.