August 21, 2015 By Mohamed Massaquooi
Concord Times investigative team has been reliably informed that some roast meat sellers could be in the habit of mixing cow and dog meat to sell to unsuspecting customers, as a result of the increase in the price of cattle in the market.
For many Sierra Leoneans, roast meat is a delicacy in the evening or during nocturnal social outings.
Abdulai Bah, a meat seller at the Krootown Road market in central Freetown said he would buy a cow and slaughter it for sale by pound to customers who come to the famous Krootown Road market, but that the price of cattle has exponentially increased, thus driving away many of his customers who used to buy meat in larger quantity.
“This trade is becoming difficult every day. Those who travelled with the cows from Kabala [in the north] and other places have complained about transportation. The other problem is that the cattle sellers do not have space to keep their cattle,” he said.
Because of these constrains there are fears that residents of Freetown could be feeding on dog meat sold to the public by unscrupulous meat sellers, under the guise of goat meat.
“There are a lot of outlets now in the city selling roast meat without any proper sanitary precautions. Most of the traders do carryout their activities at night without the supervision of state authorities. It is highly likely that they might be selling dog meat now that the price of cow in the market has increased,” Mohamed Kamara, a resident of Freetown said with grave concern.
Alieu Kanu in Bo also noted that government, through the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, should visit roast meat centres at night to ascertain the type of meat sold to be public.
Kanu is fearful that some fearful that traders who are finding it tough to buy cattle, without proper supervision from health officials, could be tempted to resort to selling dog meat as it is readily available.
Those fears should not be dismissed easily as there is a teeming population of stray dogs in towns and cities across Sierra Leone, while meat sellers have been caught in the act in the past.
Unissa Bangura, 28, was caught by youth in April 2011 at the Ascension Town Cemetery in Freetown with a dog he was allegedly preparing to sell as cow meat. Bangura was a popular roast meat seller in the neighbourhood with a huge clientele. He was subsequently dragged to the Adelaide Police Station with the exhibit and charged to court.