By Our Correspondent

Delta State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Joseph Otumara

Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association, Delta State Chapter, has called on the State House of Assembly to enact laws that will give legal right to people to institute legal actions for and on behalf of animals treated with cruelty.

The association which made the call on the occasion of 2014 World Veterinary Day Celebration held at Asaba, also advocated stiffer penalties for quackery, animal abusers and their patrons.

In an address read by the Chairman, Dr Augustine Ojogbo, the association stated that the constitution holds that any person who is guilty of an offence of cruelty to animals is liable to imprisonment for six months or a fine of N50 or both.

But the association noted that in Nigeria despite the backing of the constitution and various animal rights laws, there is a dearth of information on successful prosecution relating to cruelty against animals.

According the association, it is an offence of cruelty to animals for any person who beats, kicks, ill-treats, over-rides, over-drives, over-loads, tortures, infuriates or terrifies any animal or causes or procures or being the owner, permits any animal to be so used willfully without any reasonable excuse, administers any poisonous or injurious drug or substance to any animal.
Besides, the association said the extensive methods of farming deployed and exemplified by cattle herdsmen is an abuse and cruelty to the cattle.

The association also said the indiscriminate use of antibiotic/prescription drugs by quacks is cruelty to animals and is responsible for antibiotic and anthelminthic resistance, including outbreak of diseases in animals.

The association commended Delta State government for its attitude towards the promotion of animal welfare and prevention of cruelty to animals, promulgation of Private Veterinary Clinic Law 2006, construction of abattoirs across the state and the recent inauguration of Delta State Regulation of Private Veterinary Establishments Committee in line with the Veterinary Council of Nigeria.

The association also called on the state government to include a veterinarian in the recently inaugurated task force to control activities of cattle herdsmen, restrict cattle movement day period, encourage a more humane semi extensive/ranching method for cattle farmers, provide designated cattle route that should lead to adequate grazing reserves, establishment of Directorate of Veterinary Services and provision of a vehicle to the association to assist in effective and efficient complimentary veterinary service delivery.