Though the responsibility of slaughtering animals was bestowed upon Muslims, there are no laws regulating the meat business in the country
Sheikh Munir Ssebintu, the secretary for the halal department at the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC), has asked for the introduction of a certificate course for butchers at their Islamic Call University.
On Wednesday, during a public awareness procession for health and safety in animal transportation, slaughter and meat handling, he said that through the course, aspiring butchers will be trained on the aesthetics of slaughtering animals like cattle, goat and sheep.
“We need a course developed for the butchers. The certificates got therein will enable them participate on massive slaughter festivals especially in Muslims country’s outside Uganda. We have always missed such opportunities because our butchers have no certificates,” he said.
Currently, the halal department, which has the exclusive rights to provide butchers for the gazette abattoirs around the country, gives out only licenses and sharp knives for the job.
Nsubuga Muhammed, the secretary city abattoir said that they carry out the slaughter following the instructions from the Islamic law.
Ssebintu said that though the responsibility of slaughtering animals was bestowed upon Muslims, there are no laws regulating the meat business in the country.
He said this has left the business to the businessmen who subject animals to abuse, noting that, the animals are overloaded on trucks and forced in car trunks, tied on bicycles and motorcycles, beaten, starved and slaughtered with blunt machetes.
He said these acts inflict stress and unnecessary pain on the animals which later affects the quality of meat making it unsafe for human consumption.
Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono districts, together, there are 39 gazetted abattoirs but Ssebintu says only three are known.
Katongole Muyaya Karisa, the director Cash Valuea Simplified Collections, said that though Uganda has the Slaughter Act and the Animals (Prevention of Cruelty) Act, no one has ever been convicted or charged under the Act for mistreating animals.
He said the situation has been made worse by Muslims who think every one of them can be a butcher even when they do not have the training.
Norman Musinga, the Kampala Metropolitan traffic boss, noted that the animals have been subjected to untold pain by careless drivers who end up causing accidents that prematurely end the lives of these animals.
“Abuse of animal rights and freedoms is real and we need to strengthen the laws against cruelty,” he said.
He said there is need for a weighbridge to be put in place to keep in check overloading of animals.
The UMSC deputy Mufti, Abdullah Ssemambo, urged people to be kind to the animals and treat them with dignity even when they are going to slaughter point.
He said the Islamic laws do not condone cruelty against animals and observe that they too have communities like human beings.
“Imagine seeing a fellow man being treated the way you treat the animals”.
The awareness procession was held at Railway Grounds under the theme ‘Deepening Halal Standards and Compliance to Uplift Animal and Meat Industry in Uganda’. It was graced by the animal industry state minister, Joy Kabatsi.
In her remarks, Kabatsi said that they are going to repeal the animal cruelty Act and introduce tougher punishments for animal rights offenders.
She said the ministry is also going to give the butchers protective gears to wear during slaughter to prevent them from contracting Anthrax.