Cattle theft: Muslim leaders concerned over meat safety

Health teams inspect meat at Nakasongola-based Pearl Meat Industries on January 31, 2022. PHOTO/ DAN WANDERA

What you need to know:

  • Statistics at Luweero District Police Station indicate that 44 animal theft cases have been registered from the different parts of Luweero District between January and April this year.

The Muslim leadership in Luweero District has raised concern over the safety of the meat consumed by the public after a revelation that most of it is from stolen cows.
Luweero District Kadhi Sheikh Ramathan Mulindwa explained that in less than one month, more than 20 animals, including cattle and goats, have been stolen from residents in different villages in the area. 
But the carcass was later recovered from people that often supply meat to different butcheries in the area.

 While some of the animals get out of the district, several others are slaughtered and the meat sold to the unsuspecting public, Sheikh Mulindwa said in an interview on Thursday.
In Bukakkata Sub-county, Masaka District, residents claim they have lost a total of 100 cattle in five months.
“Our people are forced to consume unsafe meat from stolen animals. Some of the suspects arrested by authorities are people that deal in meat products. We are very concerned because animal slaughter is supposed to be a preserve of licensed persons screened by the Muslim leadership,” Sheikh Mulindwa said.

“We have to worry about the fate of our people that buy cheap animal products, including beef, from unauthorised meat suppliers and butchers. Recently, authorities recovered carcass and goats hidden inside a pit-latrine in Busiika Town Council. This is the meat that finds its way to the restaurants, and roasted meat on the roadside markets, among many areas,” he said.
Sheikh Mulindwa urged the security agencies to take up the matter. 
“We demand that the different security agencies led by the Uganda Police investigate and bring to an end the animal theft problem that does not only threaten the meat safety but also people’s livelihoods. Families continue to lose their respective animals to suspected cattle thieves,” he said.

Sheikh Abdul-Karim Katamba, the director Halal at  Uganda Muslim Supreme Council, whose office supervises animal slaughter processes in the country, confirmed that animals slaughtered outside their jurisdiction are a potential a health hazard to consumers due to lack of inspection and supervision by the mandated departments, including the veterinary officials. “The stolen animals are slaughtered in a cruel manner and never go through the normal health inspection process to guarantee the meat safety before it is sold to the public. This is a big danger to our people,” he said.

Luweero District Police Commander, Living Twazagye said they already tracking down the suspected cattle thieves and many have been arrested.
“We recently arrested eight suspected cattle thieves who have been produced in court. We call upon the public to remain vigilant and volunteer information about the suspected cattle theft racket,” he said.
On April 24, the eight suspected cattle thieves appeared before Luweero Grade One Magistrate and were charged with 11 counts of cattle theft.