At present, there are only three public slaughterhouses, owned by Chittagong City Corporation (CCC), in the port city inhabited by six million people.
On an average, around 100 animals are sacrificed every day during peak times, while 30-35 cattle are slaughtered during lean time in the three abattoirs located in Firingi Bazar, Oxygen and Pahartali of the city.
During a visit to Firingi Bazar slaughterhouse on Sunday, our correspondent saw piles of cattle excreta lying on the blood-smeared floor, causing putrid smell.
The workers of the slaughterhouse said they charge Tk80 for a cow or buffalo and Tk20 for a goat or sheep for providing slaughtering facility.
The lone veterinary surgeon appointed by CCC did not come to the slaughterhouse regularly, they added.
Abul Hashem, the veterinary surgeon, told the Dhaka Tribune that there were two posts of veterinary surgeons as per the existing organogram of the CCC.
“I have been discharging my responsibilities since 2011 against all odds. It is not possible to visit all the three slaughterhouses at a time for examining the health of the cattle,” said the veterinary surgeon.
Apart from the number of cattle slaughtered in the abattoirs, around 200-300 cattle, including cows, buffaloes and goats, are slaughtered every day during peak times in the port city, according to Chittagong Rawhide Warehouse Traders’ Cooperative Association.
The statistics clearly indicates that two-thirds of the total cattle are slaughtered in a total of 25 kitchen markets of the city in most unhygienic conditions.
Shafiqul Mannan, Chief Conservancy Officer of the CCC, said roadside slaughtering practice hindered the faster disposal of leftovers from the butchered animals.
The meat sellers and butchers said they were compelled to slaughter animals in such conditions, as the abattoirs were very few in number and located far away from the kitchen markets.
“The existing practice of slaughtering and processing the animals in the city can severely infects meat with germs and other hazardous elements,” said the veterinary surgeon.
Prof Nitish C Debnath, who teaches Microbiology and Veterinary Public Health at Chittagong Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (CVASU), said: “Cattle at abattoirs must go through a medical check-up before slaughtering to make it sure that the animals are free from diseases.”
“There is a high risk of getting infected with various diseases, including the zoonotic ones in the conventional slaughterhouses,” said Prof Nitish.
Zoonotic diseases are transmitted from animal to human. Transmission occurs when an animal infected bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi come into contact with humans.
Over 200 diseases like Tuberculosis, Anthrax, Brucellosis and Rabies are currently classified as zoonoses.
The risks can be reduced by setting up modern slaughter houses, which are supposed to be equipped with facilities like lairage, ante mortem examination, stunning section, flaying, dressing and washing of the carcass, post mortem inspection section, meat processing plant, animal quarantine centres, by-product processing sheds and effluent treatment plant.
“The modern slaughterhouses can also help the leather industry by keeping the hides undamaged,” said Muslim Uddin, adviser to Chittagong Rawhide Warehouse Traders’ Cooperative Association.
No leftover of sacrificed cattle such as blood, dung and bone would be wasted, as these could be used as important raw materials for different industries, he added.
As there is no modern slaughterhouse in the city, setting up a modern slaughterhouse was one of the electoral pledges of Mayor AJM Nasir Uddin.