Original Research

The slaughter of increased numbers of pregnant cows in Tanga abattoir, Tanzania: A cause for concern?

Emmanuel S. Swai, Abdu A. Hayghaimo, Ayubu A. Hassan, Bartholomeo S. Mhina
Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research | Vol 82, No 1 | a947 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ojvr.v82i1.947 | © 2015 Emmanuel S. Swai, Abdu A. Hayghaimo, Ayubu A. Hassan, Bartholomeo S. Mhina | This work is licensed under CC Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0
Submitted: 23 February 2015 | Published: 12 August 2015

About the author(s)

Emmanuel S. Swai, Ministry of Livestock Development and Fisheries (MoLDF), Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, United Republic of
Abdu A. Hayghaimo, Ministry of Livestock Development and Fisheries (MoLDF), Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, United Republic of
Ayubu A. Hassan, Tanga Municipal Livestock Office, Tanga, Tanzania, United Republic of
Bartholomeo S. Mhina, Tanga Municipal Livestock Office, Tanga, Tanzania, United Republic of


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Abstract

Information on the level of foetal wastage in slaughtered cattle in Tanzania is limited. A three-month observational study (April – June 2014) of animals slaughtered at the Tanga abattoir in Tanga region, Tanzania was carried out to determine the number of pregnant cows slaughtered. The total number of cattle slaughtered during the study period was 3643, representing a monthly kill average of 1214 and a daily kill average of 40. Over 98% of the cattle presented to the abattoir for slaughter were local breed (Tanzania shorthorn zebu) and most were above 3 years of age. Improved breeds of cattle represented only 1.3% of all slaughters. Of the cattle slaughtered, 2256 (61.9%) were female and 1387 (38.1%) were male. A total of 655 slaughtered cows were pregnant, representing a foetal wastage of 29.1%. Of the 655 recovered foetuses, 333 (50.8%) were male and 322 (49.2%) were female. Of the recovered foetuses, 25.8% were recovered in the first, 42.7% in the second and 31.6% in the third trimester. This study indicates cases of significant foetal losses, negatively impacting future replacement stock as a result of the slaughter of pregnant animals. The indiscriminate slaughter of pregnant cows suggests that existing animal welfare legislation is not sufficiently enforced and routine veterinary ante-mortem inspection of trade animals is failing to prevent the high level of foetal wastage.

Keywords

Abattoir; Animal production loss; Bovine; Tanzania

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