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General News of Monday, 2 February 2015

Source: Ismail Akwei

Comment: Ghana's cattle transportation, a typical case of animal cruelty

The transportation of cattle from other parts of the country to slaughter houses in Ghana has come under question as many look on while these animals are cruelly maltreated on Ghanaian roads before they get to their destination.

A typical case was witnessed on the Accra-Tema Motorway when a commercial Flatbed truck with registration number GR 5087 K carrying ten bundled up cattle from the Volta Region had an accident.

The cattle, each weighing about 1,100kg, were left in their misery as the transporters focused on the overloaded broken-down vehicle creating a scene on the stretch of road.

These animals are sometimes transported on long journeys without food and water under harsh weather conditions. Some die on the way and other unconscious but nevertheless, their throats are slit to get the owners their wages.

The meat of a maltreated animal is proven to have a reduced quality in taste, nutrient levels and tenderness.

Aside causing danger to the cattle being transported, these inappropriate vehicles also create havoc to other road users. Driving near these sluggish over-loaded vehicles can cause both direct and indirect threats to other vehicles and commuters in case a cattle runs loose.

This and many other reasons question the role of public officials who are responsible for regulating the transportation of animals in the country.

The Criminal Code of Ghana, Amendment (2003) Act 646, Chapter 9, Section 303 explains vividly what cruelty to animals mean and the punishment to be meted out to perpetrators.

But, are the laws working?

“Section 303—Cruelty to Animals.

(1) Any person who—

(a) cruelly beats, kicks, ill-treats, over-loads, tortures, infuriates, or terrifies any animal, or causes or procures, or being the owner, permits any animal to be so used; or

(b) by wantonly or unreasonably doing or omitting to do any act, or causing or procuring the commission or omission of any act, causes any unnecessary suffering, or being the owner, permits any unnecessary suffering, to be caused to any animal; or

(c) conveys or carries, or being the owner, permits to be conveyed or carried any animal in such manner or position as to cause the animal unnecessary suffering; or

(d) drives any animal in harness, or when drawing a vehicle, which is in such a condition as to cause the animal unnecessary suffering, or being the owner, permits any such animal to be so driven; or

(e) subjects, or causes or procures, or being the owner, permits, to be subjected, any animal to any operation which is performed without due care or humanity, is guilty of the offence of cruelty and is liable to a fine not exceeding ¢500,000.00.

(2) An owner is guilty of the offence of permitting cruelty if he fails to exercise reasonable care and supervision in respect of the protection of the animal from an act of cruelty indicated in subsection (1).

(3) This section does not apply—

(a) to the commission or omission of any act in the course of the destruction, or the preparation for destruction, or the preparation for destruction, of any animal as food for mankind, unless such destruction or such preparation was accompanied by the infliction of unnecessary suffering; or

(b) to the coursing or hunting of any captive animal unless the animal is liberated in an injured, mutilated or exhausted condition; but a captive animal shall not, for the purposes of this section, be deemed to be coursed or hunted before it is liberated for the purpose of being coursed or hunted, or after it has been recaptured, or if it is under control.”

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