Friday, April 19, 2024
BusinessDraft proclamation proposes to make livestock slaughter outside abattoirs criminal offense

Draft proclamation proposes to make livestock slaughter outside abattoirs criminal offense

Legislation in the works under experts at the Ministry of Agriculture proposes criminal penalties for the slaughter of livestock whose meat is destined for retail markets outside of abattoirs. Those found guilty could face up to three years imprisonment in addition to a fine of not less than 20,000 birr.

If ratified, the draft would repeal a five decade old proclamation and regulation. The Ministry has already conducted the first round of stakeholder consultations on both pieces of legislation.

Existing federal laws do not specify legal consequences for livestock slaughter deemed illegal at city administration levels. City regulations enforce punishments including the closure of businesses and fines for the unlawful slaughter of livestock. Perpetrators rarely face criminal charges.

For export-oriented abattoirs, the consequences could entail mandatory quarantine procedures. Any business entity that slaughters livestock sourced from outside a registered quarantine station or breeding center for export purposes is subject to a fine of up to 300,000 birr. The fine is applicable to businesses that export livestock without adhering to quarantine period regulations or without proof of quarantine.

Kelifa Hussein, CEO of Allana Group Ethiopia, the country’s largest meat exporter, sees the revision as a good step for his business as it will help introduce international standards. He says his clients sometimes list the enforcement of such laws as a prerequisite for trade.

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“We mostly export to the Middle East, and when we think of new markets such as Asia, one of the perquisites to assure good standards in the trade is the laws in the country,” he said.

Kelifa and others in the business stand to benefit from provisions in the proclamation about quarantine and traceability. The draft states that livestock for slaughter must be sourced from a registered farm or market for traceability. The livestock must also be quarantined “in accordance with relevant laws and regulations in the country.”

Officials in the Agriculture sector will be in charge of enforcing and regulating the new rules.

Kelifa says it is good timing.

“We now are mulling Jordan as a new market, and one of their requirements has to do with the quarantine law in the country. They were asking if quarantine here was supported by legislation” Kelifa said. “Traceability is also one of the main things they consider.”

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