Nigeria: Vet doctors, global petition decry animal cruelty amid Nigeria’s thriving dog meat market.

Foreign dogs used as pets, security –Dog breeders

A dog breeder and salesman who gave his name only as Gbenga stated that people buy foreign breeds for security use and not for consumption.

He said, “Different people buy dogs for various purposes, some as pets, security, passion etc. People who eat dog meat can’t eat foreign dogs because of fats and injections, though some of my customers claim they can eat it but mostly they don’t. People from Ondo, Cross River, and Akwa-Ibom eat dog meat but they can’t eat that of foreign dogs.

“I have seen people who eat dog meat but not that of foreign breeds. They can’t just buy foreign dogs for eating because an adult foreign dog costs between N150,000 and N3,000,000. They wouldn’t buy that just for consumption.”

Gbenga, who said the business was lucrative, said those who invested hugely into it would make good money from it.

He said, “Dog business is lucrative. If a dog is well taken care of, it can generate a net income of N1,500,000 annually. If one has three dogs, one can imagine the profit when it gives birth. The patronage is good. It’s sold in various forms, online and offline. I have various breeds; Boerboel, Caucasian, bull Mastiff.”

Another dog breeder, Blakk Santa, also said people who eat dogs don’t eat foreign breeds.

He said, “I have family members and friends who eat dogs. They eat the native Nigerian breed popularly called local dog. They don’t buy dog meat in the market, most joints sell it cooked. They don’t sell dog meat, they only eat them. To me, eating dog meat is disgusting. I have tried to discourage those that eat dog meat. People eat dogs across states in Nigeria. People eat dogs due to personal preferences, except Muslims.”

He stated that breeding and selling dogs had its merits and demerits, saying “I breed Rottweiler and Boerboel. I encounter different buyers every day, fellow breeders, dog lovers and people who need dogs for security purposes. It’s a side hustle, it’s either one makes money from it or not.’’

No medical benefits in eating dog meat, say vet doctors

Commenting on the issue, a professor of Veterinary Medicine at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto State, Adamu Yunusa, stated that there were no medical benefits in eating dog meat.

He added that the consumption of dogs was mostly personal choice, noting that some people chose to eat pigs reared in an unhealthy way.

Yunusa said, “Whatever a dog meat has is the same nutritive value with what goat meat has. Actually, there is no difference between goat meat and dog meat. Some tribes in Nigeria kill dogs for cultural or traditional reasons like the Muslims slaughter rams yearly. Some tribes use dogs when they have some festivities.  Calabar people take it as a special meat.”

Yunusa noted that the other breeds were expensive to kill for consumption unless they died naturally, stating that no one would buy a dog for N100,000 upwards to eat its meat. He stated, “Perhaps, they kill local dogs because they are cheap to get.”

Another veterinary doctor, Dr Ukamaka Uchenna, stated that killing of dogs for human consumption should be condemned.

She said, “Eating of dogs these days is not peculiar to any tribe. Many people eat it but it’s not used in household cooking. It is often eaten socially in bars and restaurants that specialise in the preparation.

“Like every other meat, dog meat is rich in protein. However, some of the eaters said that it cures malaria and high blood pressure, but this has not been scientifically proven. They also said that it increases male libido. This claim has also not been proven scientifically.”

Uchenna said that the killing of dogs for human consumption should be frowned at, noting that dogs were not food animals but companion animals and should not be eaten.

She stated, “It’s like eating an animal that provides one security and obeys one. Eating dogs is inhumane. “Dogs may harbour some diseases such as rabies. The butcher can get rabies in the process of killing and processing the dog for meat.’’

A professor of food animal medicine at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Oladele Talabi, said that people had made dog meat a delicacy because of culture and where they hail from.

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