Abia agriculture commissioner Ikechi Mgboji has warned residents against eating cow lungs so as to avoid contracting Bovine Tuberculosis which had been found in the state.
The commissioner, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Aba, said that the warning became necessary following the discovery of some cows infected with the ailment.
Bovine Tuberculosis is a chronic disease of animals caused by a bacteria called Mycobacterium bovis, which is closely related to the bacteria that cause human and avian Tuberculosis.
Mgboji said that the disease, which affects cow lungs, was discovered two weeks ago in Aba.
He said that the disease causes a general state of illness that result into coughing and eventual death.
“Part of our work in this ministry is that any cow offered for public consumption is usually examined by veterinary doctors.
“About two weeks ago, two of such cows, when killed, were found to have Bovine Tuberculosis. There is no way to detect a cow with such a disease unless it is either killed or tested.
“So we decided to alert people who eat beef to stop eating the lungs of cows for now. But they may eat the flesh.
“They should stop eating that particular organ for now until we are able to determine if it is a very exceptional case or a prevalent case,” the commissioner said.
Mgboji said that the ministry had alerted veterinary doctors, who operate at the abattoirs, to watch out for such disease manifestation to determine its spread to safeguard lives.
He also said that the Abia agriculture ministry had alerted cow dealers to the discovery so that they would allow health officials to test their cows.
“The goal is to safeguard the lives of beef consumers,” he said.
Mgboji regretted that cow dealers had not shown interest in having their cows tested to determine their fitness for human consumption, adding that their quest for profit was a threat to human health.
“The Board of Internal Revenue (BIR) is sending touts to inspect the meat and get them money. The poser is `how can a tout, who has no training in veterinary medicine, inspect meat in abattoirs?
“That is what we find in Nigeria; when you speak, you make enemies unnecessarily for yourself.
“When you have the BIR pushing the touts just to get money for them, it makes our work difficult, but in spite of all that, we will do our best to safeguard lives of residents,” he said.
The commissioner said that the warning he gave was “throwing up dust in some quarters”, but explained that the measures were not for his personal good.
“Our goal is to protect Abia residents. That is all.”