Friday, February 21, 2020

Benin's Slaughterhouse Scandal

People across Benin have been shocked and horrified by photos of the largest slaughterhouse in Cotonou.  Observers spoke out about the high level of dysfunction that has led to such unsanitary conditions at the facility. Huge amounts of pork and beef are processed every day at the slaughterhouse. That meat is then sold at the main markets in the city. 

NGO Bénin Diaspora Assistance, received complaints from butchers and sent collaborators on the ground to go and investigate the slaughterhouse.

 "The butchers who work in the Cotonou slaughterhouse are forced to work in extremely unsanitary conditions. The butchers use water from a borehole that isn’t drinkable. The dirty water that they’ve used then flows into the yard because all of the drains are blocked. This polluted water then seeps into the ground and is again extracted when the butchers draw water from the borehole to wash the meat.For a period lasting several months, the slaughterhouse didn’t even have any electricity.They hadn’t paid their bills so the national energy company came and cut off the power. That meant that the cold room used to conserve meat wasn’t working.This is a serious public health problem. It was the butchers who work at the slaughterhouse who sounded the alarm, which meant we could then investigate the high level of dysfunction at the facility and denounce it." 
One of the butchers who uses the facility spoke out about the poor management.

"There are serious problems with hygiene in the slaughterhouse. We became ill from all of the nauseating and overpowering smells. Since late November, there hasn’t been water or electricity at the facility so we have to use water from a borehole, which isn’t drinkable.Our meat went bad because management kept shutting down the cold room that is meant to preserve it. They said that they wanted to save money. They once shut it between 9am and 4am the next morning. We lost a lot. It’s terrible management because we pay at least 13,000 CFA francs [20 euros] for each cow that we slaughter there and 500 CFA francs CFA [75 euro cents] for each sheep."

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