GHANA – Ghana has lifted a ban placed on the purchase of meat from butcher houses in the country, amid the Anthrax outbreak earlier last month.

Butchers in the Bolgatanga Municipality of the Upper East Region have commended the government for lifting the ban and allowing the movement, sale, slaughtering of ruminants and consumption of meat in the region, saying it is a relief. 

As a result, the abattoirs and slaughterhouses which were closed have been reopened and the butchers are now working at various places.

The ban, which came into force in the early parts of June was because of the outbreak of Anthrax disease in the region, which had killed one person and several animals including cattle, sheep, and goats.

Mr Timothy Timbil, the Secretary of the Bolgatanga Butchers Association, expressed delight at the announcement and said it would help restore their livelihoods.

He explained that the imposition of the ban had created inconvenience, adversely affected their source of income, and made things difficult for them to take care of the needs of their families.

“As parents who take care of families, it was difficult feeding our families very well, and some of our children were even driven out of school because we were not able to pay their fees, so, it brought a lot of difficulty to us,” he said

Earlier in July, members of the public were urged to purchase meat, particularly beef and chevon, from butcher houses for guaranteed safety from anthrax disease.

According to Mr Iliasu Ibrahim, Secretary of the Nyohini Butcher House in Tamale, meat sold at designated butcher houses was tested and certified by veterinary officers at the abattoir to be free from the anthrax virus.

He said that any animal slaughtered at the abattoir had to be checked by the veterinary officers and stamped to ensure that no infected meat is sold to the public.

Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Tamale, Mr Ibrahim urged consumers to look out for stamps of veterinary officers on fleshes before purchasing.

He expressed dissatisfaction over diminishing interest in beef patronage, saying a full cow, which sold within a day previously, now sells for three or more days since the anthrax outbreak was announced.

The anthrax outbreak started in a few districts in the Upper East Region about a month ago and spread throughout the region.

This compelled health officials and other related authorities in charge of animal health to ban the sale of beef, mutton, and chevon in the region.

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