African experts decry high levels of drug residue in livestock
09 February 2015, 08:03
Naivasha - African veterinary experts on Sunday decried high levels of drug residue in livestock products such as meat and milk.
The Africa Veterinary Technical Association and Kenya Veterinary Paraprofessional Association attributed this to the proliferation of quacks in the sector.
Benson Ameda, chairman of the Africa Veterinary Technical Association, said the current act of veterinary surgeons and paraprofessionals does not address issues facing stakeholders.
"There is need to amend this act so that we can deal with increased cases of drug residue in livestock products, which have been caused by an influx of quacks," he said at a news conference in Naivasha, about 90 km northwest of Nairobi.
Ameda said paraprofessionals needed to be given powers just as the case with vets to treat minor ailments in animals.
"Currently paraprofessionals work under veterinarians and this spells doom for the nation where the number of quacks is on the increase," he said.
Alex Mathenge, secretary with Kenya Veterinary Paraprofessional Association, said the issue of drug residue in animals was serious with farmers slaughtering their animals hours after medication.
Mathenge said farmers needed to be aware of the health implications associated with slaughtering animals that have been treated and not recovered.
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The organizations also noted that the draconian Veterinary Medicine Directorate Bill has played part in the crisis with over 6,000 jobs at risk.
John Ngige, chairman of Kenya Veterinary Paraprofessional Association, said the bill should be suspended to allow for more consultations before its enactment as it would lead to massive job losses.
Ngige said many of the paraprofessionals stood to lose if the bill in its current status was passed by the National Assembly.
"We know that this bill is intended to make paraprofessionals work under veterinarians which is illegal as all of them have received the same training," he said.
Ngige said many farmers, especially in the arid and semi-arid regions, depended on their services as vets were few in the country. He termed the bill as a disaster, adding that they will marshal members of parliament, especially from the pastoralists regions, to reject it once the house reopens this week.
"Many of the paraprofessionals will lose their jobs once this bill is passed in its current form, and we as an association reject it in totality," he added.
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