On Tuesday, the chicks imported through the Namanga border point Longido District, were destroyed in an exercise supervised by officials from Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA) and Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA).
Speaking to The Guardian yesterday, Chief Executive Officer of Arusha Society for the Protection of Animals (ASPA) Livingstone Masija condemned the exercise deeming it barbaric and heinous for the welfare of animals.
“The society is deeply saddened by the decision reached by the government agencies, they should have consulted us for some advice on what to do,” he said.
According to Masija, the two government agencies could have either auctioned the chicks before spraying them with poisonous gases in bid to eliminate them.
“That move could have reduced the pain and suffering among the chickens instead of setting them on fire,” he added.
One, Okuta Ngura from Kenya observed that the cruel manner in which the chicks were killed was inhumane and barbaric that went against animal rights.
Ngura claimed that there weren’t any disease epidemic in poultry in Kenya recently, and that the act was an unwelcoming gesture as far as the friendship of the two EAC neighbours was concerned.
“Even if there is trade animosity between the two countries this is not right…what if Kenyans reciprocated the same way,” posted the activist on the Kenya rising face book page.
However, in his rejoinder Dr Nyasebwa Malangu, an officer in charge with the northern zone veterinary centre defended the move by TRA and TFDA, arguing they acted in conformity to the existing laws and guidelines.
In a telephone interview with The Guardian yesterday, Dr Malangu said the Veterinary profession was guided by two principles of protecting animal health while also safeguarding public health.
He added that following the outbreak of the Avian Influenza, commonly referred to as Bird Flu in Uganda in 2006, Tanzania imposed a quarantine on poultry products entering the country.
“If we go by the existing laws in the poultry sector, the act of destroying the chicks was justified, this helps to prevent the spread of poultry related diseases,” explained Dr Malangu.
The veterinarian was categorical on the Animal Disease Act of 2003, particularly sections, 1, 2 and 31 justified the decision by the two government agencies.
“The act mandates veterinary officers and health inspectors to seize and destroy any poultry products deemed unfit for human consumption,” added Dr Malangu.
Mary Matia, the owner of the chicks is still in police custody for smuggling into the country the 12.5million/- chicks.
Addressing the National Assembly in April this year, the then Deputy Minister for Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries, William Ole Nasha said the government had slapped a ban on poultry businesspersons to import chickens or even their eggs adding that by 2013, a total of 67,500 had been destroyed.