WAV Comment – we have added images to this article.
This is a 6 page article.
VICTORIA ADENEKAN writes about the Nigerian dog meat market which veterinary doctors and dog lovers want activities halted to preserve companion animals
The nation’s dog meat market thrives largely in many states, particularly in some states in the South-West and South-South. It features prominently dog sellers and buyers with the latter mostly specialists who prepare dog meat for sale. There are even spots in some areas around Lagos and in some states where dogs are killed, dressed, and prepared for consumption.
One of the joints is in Ijesa in Surulere, Lagos. Sunday evenings and on public holidays are when sales are the highest for a dog meat seller, who gave his name only as Michael and his boss identified only as “Alapata (someone who butchers animals).”
Michael told our correspondent that the boom in the business had been keeping them in business for over 20 years.
The brutal killing
It was gathered that the dogs are kept in a cage and served only water to await death. The killing process is gruesome and dog lovers will hate to witness it.
A noose, an iron rod with a long twine attached to it is used to drag the identified dog out of the cage. Once the rope catches the dog’s neck, the length of the twine is shortened and holds the dog’s neck in a choking way. The dog’s mouth opens with intermittent cries of helplessness as it is dragged out of the cage. The remaining dogs in the cage join their departing dog in the cries but they remain helpless.
Michael said, “Once the dog is brought out of the cage, the noose remains on its neck to prevent it from attacking the person holding it. The iron rod is then used to smash the dog’s head twice, to weaken it. After that, the neck is slit and the blood is collected or made to flow. Once the blood flow stops, the carcasses are placed on the wired mesh with a hearth or fireplace and doused with kerosene. Fire is kindled to burn the hair to make it easy to remove. Then it is washed with soap to scrape excess hair.’’
All parts of the dog are edible except what Michael referred to as “bile duct. It’s attached to the liver and also present in chicken.
For dogs with a lot of fat, the oil is extracted and can be used as a regular vegetable or soya oil.
Asked if there were other ways of killing the dogs, Alapata said, “They are wild dogs. They are not a chicken, ram or goat that one can tie their limbs and kill. The dogs will bite someone if they are not held that way.”
An apprentice with Alapata identified only as Daniel said the dogs also called 404 had a unique taste different from beef, chicken or pork.
The Akwa-Ibom indigene stated, “I eat dog meat and it is good. The taste and the method of preparation are different from that of other animals whose meat is eaten. We cook it with a lot of pepper and scented leaves.”
Speaking on how they sell and buy the dogs, Daniel said they usually sell dog meat at N100 per piece.
Daniel added, “On Sundays, we used to kill like eight or nine dogs, and we always sold everything. The meat is now costly, it’s not like before, a dog costs about N20,000. We buy from sellers who come from the North and South.
“We don’t raise them, we buy different sizes on a weekly basis. Every week they bring like 20 or 50. They bring them on Saturdays. The business is really booming. If one doesn’t have skills and techniques, one can’t kill dogs. Also, if one doesn’t know how to prepare it, people will not enjoy it.’’
Daniel, who called their joint, Hotdog Centre, said that their customers were of different ages, sexes and from parts of the country.
Continued on next page