The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar has formally 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. According to the minister, “It is our duty to ensure that animals are treated humanely, responsibly and devoid of stress, hunger, anxiety and pain”. He added 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 for the livestock and poultry industry.
The minister posited that to achieve 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. Dr. Abubakar added that the inauguration of NCAW was timely, noting that 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 and other stakeholders in this domain to ensure that together we improve animal welfare practice in Nigeria on a sustainable basis”, the minister said, adding that members of the steering committees would chair the various animal welfare technical working groups under the headship of the Chief Veterinary Officer Nigeria/Director, Federal Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services. Dr. Abubakar, who tasked the council to provide a clear roadmap that would ensure a successful implementation of animal welfare policies and programmes for the country.
The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Senator Adeleke Mamora stressed the need for both ministries to work together to attain the set goal of taking care of animals to avoid diseases being transmitted to humans. The Director, Federal Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services, Dr. Maimuna Habib, stated that inaugurating the council was aimed at formulating national standard for use and care of animals as well as implement 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 medium for creating awareness for relevant stakeholders on good animal welfare practices, noting that NCAW would operate the committee system. Dr. Habib said the committee would draw its guideline and principle areas such as companion animals, livestock and production animals and aquatic animals, among others while the council members were drawn from the military, para-military, veterinary teaching hospitals, and deans of faculties of veterinary institutes in Nigeria.