|Livestock Research for Rural Development 25 (5) 2013||Guide for preparation of papers||LRRD Newsletter||
Citation of this paper
This study assesses the food security and economic impacts of fetal wastages in slaughtered small ruminants at Minna municipal abattoir, northern Nigeria during a ten-year period (2001 to 2010). A total of 6812 sheep and 220993 goats were slaughtered at the slaughterhouse during the study period.
Of the 581 total pregnant ewes slaughtered, the highest of 102 (20.4%) was in
2002 and lowest of 18 (4.9%) in 2010. The total pregnant does slaughtered was
2862 with highest of 369 (4.3%) in 2008 and lowest of 229 (1.7%) in 2001. An
estimated edible nutrition parts of the lambs wasted was 32303.60kg and those of
kids loss was 122779.8kg in the period. Slaughter of pregnant ewes and does
cause fetal wastages resulting in a total economic loss of
($US 6693880.57). The estimated edible parts of the lambs and kids wasted
presents a threat to food security with consequent effects of decrease in
nutrition values of animal origin to humans. These wastages are of serious
economic and food security concerns to pastoralists and agro-pastoralists and
the Nigerian livestock industry. Information is needed on the nutrition and
economic losses due to small ruminant fetal wastages from most other
slaughterhouses for strategic planning and decision-making on animal food
security particularly in the country and indeed sub-Saharan Africa.
Key words: does, economic losses, ewes
Small ruminants play a significant role in providing food and financial security for rural populations, especially in developing countries. The small size of sheep and goats has distinct economic, managerial, and biological advantages. For instance, they can be conveniently cared for by women and children. Sheep and goats need little housing space, consume low amounts of feed, and can supply both meat and milk in quantities suitable for immediate family consumption (Workneh 1999). Sheep and goats are the main small ruminants in the Nigerian livestock industry and provide bulks of protein, essential minerals and vitamins. Nigeria falls among countries with very low per caput production and consumption of animal protein (Nwakpu and Ugwu 2004). The mean protein intake (meat, milk, eggs and fish) per caput per day in Nigeria has been estimated at 14.85g, with meat alone representing 6.8g. The meat protein intake in Nigeria is much lower than the North American and European averages of 38.3 and 27.3g per caput per day respectively but slightly higher than African average of 4.5g (FAO 2006).
The growth rate of ruminant production is too slow to cope with the per capita requirements in Nigeria; the human population of Nigeria grows with an estimated 3.5% per year and the livestock resources grow between 0.8% and 2.9% per year. This phenomenon has attracted huge profits in the meat business, but with the result of undesirable slaughtering of breeding stock and pregnant animals (Chaudhari and Bokko 2000; Taiwo et al 2006). This practice is waste of fetuses and reproductively active dams, and has a negative effect on livestock growth capacity (Cadmus and Adesokan 2009). Scarcity of data exists on the economic losses due to small ruminant fetal wastages from most slaughterhouses in Nigeria-and other sub-Saharan African countries- which hinders the need for strategic planning and decision-making on animal food security. This study assesses the trends and economic impacts of this fetal wastage in slaughtered small ruminants at Minna municipal abattoir, Northern Nigeria during a ten-year period (2001 to 2010).
The research work was conducted in Minna municipal abattoir, a major slaughterhouse in the Northern Guinea Savannah of Nigeria. Geographically, it is on coordinate of N 11.83333o and E 008.36667o (using etrexR Global Positioning System device).
The animals studied were sheep and goats presented for slaughtering at the Minna slaughterhouse. It was impossible to get the exact record on age for each slaughtered sheep and goat during the study period except sex, but all were adults. It was documented that about 99.9% of small ruminants brought for slaughter are indigenous breeds (predominantly Balami, Yankassa, Udda, Koroji sheep while goats included Sokoto red, Borno white, Kano brown and West African dwarf) kept in the pastoral and agro-pastoral extensive management systems across the state.
Secondary data of the daily records of fetal wastages resulting from slaughtered
pregnant dams in the ten years (2001–
2010) were collected
from Minna Zonal Veterinary Office. However, primary data were obtained from
periodic direct post-mortem inspections of slaughtered sheep and goats in the
slaughterhouse, which was carried out during the review period. Interviews were
periodically conducted with cattle traders at Minna livestock market and other
local livestock markets, as well as with pastoralists and agro-pastoralist for
information on adult sheep and goats prices at different periods in the area.
Adult sheep have mean (X) weight of 55.6kg edible parts and adult goats
have average (X) weight of 42.9kg edible parts both at
Nigerian naira currencies per kilogram weight market price at meat shops.
Data on the total number of sheep and goats slaughtered, including the fetuses
collected on daily basis from 2001 to 2010 were used. The annual proportions of
fetal wastages in the study period were computed on the number of ewes and does
found to be pregnant at post-mortem inspections (since ante-mortem examination
is rarely performed) using OpenEpi software version 2.3 at 95% confidence
interval. Economic losses from the two small ruminant fetal wastages were
analyzed at adult values on assumption that they were allowed to live to that age.
An estimated mean adult sheep (X = 55.6kg) and goat (X = 42.9kg)
N850.00 Nigerian naira currencies per kilogram weight obtained during
the survey were used for analysis.
During the study period, a total of 6,812 sheep - annual mean of 351- were slaughtered at Minna slaughterhouse out of which 51% (n=3,508) were ewes, with the highest (n=567) and lowest (n=186) slaughtered in 2003 and 2005 respectively (Table 1). Of the 581 total pregnant ewes slaughtered, the highest of 102 (20.4%) was in 2002 and lowest of 18 (4.9%) in 2010. Table 2 gives the trend of fetal losses in the does during the period. Higher number of goats (n= 220,993) were slaughtered with about half (n=101,972) being does. An annual average of 10,197 does was slaughtered. The highest number of does slaughtered (18,769 (63.7%)) was in 2005 and fifteen percent being the lowest in 2010. Only 2,862 were pregnant with highest of 369 (4.3%) in 2008 and lowest of 229 (1.7%) in 2001.
Table 1. Total annual lambs fetal wastages at Minna municipal abattoir: 2001 to 2010
Number of sheep
Number of ewes slaughtered
Number of pregnant ewes slaughtered
Rate of ewe slaughtered
Rate of lamb fetal wastage (%)
*Mean (X) rate of lamb fetal losses is 16.5%
Table 2. Total annual kids fetal wastages at Minna municipal abattoir: 2001 to 2010
Number of goats slaughtered
Number of does slaughtered
Number of pregnant does slaughtered
Rate of does slaughtered
kid fetal wastage (%)
*Mean (X) rate of kid fetal losses is 2.8%
Our result of trends analyses revealed fluctuations (non-linear) in the fetal
wastages in ewes and does (Fig 1). We found that between 2001 and 2010, the
trend in ewes fluctuates more often but characterized with a late increase
between 2009 and 2010. On the other hand, our findings confirm that between 2001
and 2005, the trend of fetal wastage in the does varies though a remarkable
steady decrease was observed after the peak in 2005 till 2010. The economic
losses from 581 lambs and 2862 kids fetal losses from 2001 to 2010 were
estimated at about
N 27458060.00 Nigerian Naira ($US 171612.88 American
Dollars) and N 104362830.00 Nigerian Naira ($US 652267.69 American
Dollars) respectively, which amounts to a total economic loss of N
131820890.00 ($US 6693880.57 American Dollars). The estimated edible parts of
the lambs wasted were 32303.60kg and of kids loss were 122779.8kg.
Figure 1. Trends of lambs and kids fetal wastages in Minna municipal abattoir: 2001 to 2010
We found that high volumes of sheep and goats were slaughtered at Minna slaughterhouse with the goats being more. The greater volumes suggest high consumption of ruminants, particularly goats. In a five-year survey (1985 to 1989), Wosu and Dubia (1992) recorded similar high volumes of 91289 and 266060 slaughtered sheep and goats respectively in Enugu slaughterhouse and 6669 and 21185 sheep and goats at Nsukka slaughterhouse in Southeastern Nigeria. Nwapku and Osakwe (2007) also observed 867 sheep and 6170 goats slaughtered in a slaughterhouse in Ebonyi state, Southeastern Nigeria during a related five-year study. During four months of survey in two slaughterhouses in Taraba State (Northeastern Nigeria), a total of 1398 sheep and 6641 goats were slaughtered (Ahemen and Zahraddeen 2010). These show that sheep and goats are major sources of food supply to the Nigerian populace with more affordable market prices when compared with large food animals like cattle.
According to some research surveys, rates of slaughtered ewes are usually higher than does (Wosu and Dubia 1992; Bokko 2011), contrary to the findings in this study but in agreement with the observations of Ahemen and Zahraddeen (2010) which indicated lower rate in ewes. Mean rate of 16.5% lambs fetal wastages was observed in this study which is lower than the 33.9%, 64.4%, 34.0%, 29.5%, 29.2% and 22.8% reported by Wosu and Dubia 1992, Sanusi et al (2006), Muhammad et al (2007), Idahor et al (2009), Alade et al (2011) and Bokko (2011) respectively. This may be connected with the sensitization of stock holders for over a decade on the need to preserve dams and avoid slaughtering gravid dams despite the high poverty level among the pastoralists and agro-pastoralists leading to non-preservation of breeder small ruminant stock. Similarly, the average rate of 2.8% noted in slaughtered pregnant does is lower than other observed rates ranging from 10.1% to 57.9% reported by Wosu and Dubia (1992), Sanusi et al (2006), Muhammad et al (2007), Idahor et al (2009), Alade et al (2011) and Bokko (2011).
Despite the fluctuations in the proportions of the trends across the study period, our results still indicate high numbers of pregnant ewes and does slaughtered throughout the years. The most plausible reason for these rates observed may be that ante-mortem examination and pregnancy diagnosis are not routinely carried out in this slaughterhouse. This practice is the same in most other Nigerian slaughterhouses, leading to passage of pregnant animals for slaughter and consequently causing high prenatal losses. This is in agreement with the findings of Abassa (1995) as observed in most sub-Saharan African countries. The late increase in the trend of fetal wastages in the ewes however calls for concern indicating that adequate precautions are not taken to limit the slaughter of pregnant animals in Nigerian abattoirs. Future studies should investigation and explore possible reasons for this upsurge and its attendant effects on food security.
A cursory observation of rates of fetal wastages in slaughtered pregnant ewes
and does across the period shows gross losses in the meat industry with great
impact on food security of animal origin. The estimated economic losses of about
N 27458060.00 Nigerian Naira ($US 171612.88 American Dollars) and N
104362830.00 Nigerian Naira ($US 652267.69 American Dollars) respectively from
581 lambs and 2862 kids fetal wastages at the Minna slaughterhouse alone - which
could have grown to adult animals if given chance to live- is huge resulting in
great economic losses to Nigeria. These economic losses are comparable to an
estimated N 8353800.00 ($US 56828.57) for calf fetal wastage reported in
the same slaughterhouse in a 10-year survey (Alhaji 2011). The estimated edible
parts of the lambs and kids wasted presents a threat to food security with
consequent effects of decrease in nutrition values of animal origin to humans.
After a careful observation of the situation, we discovered that poverty is the
main reason why livestock rearers choose to sell pregnant does and ewes. In
actual sense, these rearers keep small ruminants as source of food and income.
Most times, they sell their animals when they are in need of money. Since their
poverty level is on the increase, they are usually forced to sell pregnant dams.
They also believe that since the pregnant dams would look robust, that will sell
at good price fetching them more money.
With increasing rise in poverty level, there is high tendency that trends of slaughter of gravid ewes and does may increase and a corresponding increase in economic and animal protein losses may be unavoidable making it an issue of more concern. Small ruminant fetal wastages are of great economic and food security concerns to the pastoralists and agro-pastoralists and the Nigerian livestock industry that provides bulk of protein, essential minerals and vitamins needed for human body. Our inability to compare findings on losses from small ruminants in this abattoir with those from other slaughterhouses in Nigeria is due to paucity of information in the literatures. Information is needed on the nutrition and economic losses due to small ruminant fetal wastages from most other slaughterhouses for strategic planning and decision-making on animal food security particularly in Nigeria and indeed sub-Saharan Africa. Research on the nutrition and economic losses accruing from fetal wastage of lambs and kids due to slaughter of pregnant dams in other slaughterhouse houses in the country and other sub-Saharan countries is therefore encouraged.
The authors would like to thank the staff of the Niger State Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development, Minna Zonal Office in charge of the Minna municipal abattoir for providing the materials used in the research survey.
We the authors of this manuscript declare that no conflict of interest exists.
Abassa K P 1995 Prenatal wastage. In Reproductive losses in small ruminants in Sub-Saharan Africa: A review. International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Ottawa, Canada, International Livestock Centre for Africa (ILCA), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Ahemen T and Zahraddeen D 2010 Species contribution as source of meat and their foetal wastage in Taraba State, Nigeria. Archive of Applied Science Research 2: 85-91.
Alade N K, Sadisu M A and Gambo M 2011 Incidence of slaughtering pregnant cows, sheep, goats and camels in a Sahel Region of Nigeria. Research Opinions in Animal and Veterinary Sciences 1: 516-520.
Alhaji N B 2011 Prevalence and economic implications of calf foetal wastage in an abattoir in Northcentral Nigeria. Tropical Animal Health and Production 43: 587–590.
Bokko P B 2011 Pregnancy wastage in sheep and goat in the Sahel region of Nigeria. Nigerian Veterinary Journal 32: 120-126.
Cadmus S I B and Adesokan H K 2009 Bovine fetal wastage in southwestern Nigeria: A survey of some abattoirs. Tropical Animal Health and Production 42: 617 – 621.
Chaudhari S U R and Bokko P B 2000 Reproductive status, pregnancy wastage and incidence of gross genital abnormalities in cows slaughtered at the Maiduguri abattoir, Nigeria. Pakistan Veterinary Journal 20: 182 – 184.
FAO 2006 State of world food insecurity. Food and Agriculture Organization, Rome, Italy, pp 67. Retrieved December 14 2012 from ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/009/a0750e/a0750e02.pdf.
Idahor K O, Omeje J N, Aya V E, Audi P, Daniel S R and Luka B D 2009 Awareness of foetal losses from ruminants slaughtered at Lafia abattoir. Acta SATECH 3: 42-46.
Muhammad I R, Ashiru R and Abdullahi A Y 2007 Implications of the slaughter of Pregnant Ewes and Does to future stock in the Semi-arid Urban Abattoir. Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances 6: 819 – 822.
Nwakpu P E and Ugwu I C 2004 Contribution of pork to meat supply in Ebonyi State, Nigeria. Proceedings of the 9th Annual Conference of Animal Science Association of Nigeria, Abakaliki, Nigeria, pp 189–217.
Nwapku P E and Osakwe I I 2007 Trends in volume and magnitude of foetal waste of slaughter animals (2000-2005) in Ebonyi State of Nigeria. Research Journal of Animal Science 1: 30-35.
Sanusi M, Abubakar M and Luka B 2006 Incidence of Foetal Wastages in Ruminant Animals Slaughtered at Bauchi and Jos Abattoirs. In the Proceedings of the 2006 Annual Nigerian Society for Animal Production Conference, Pp: 102-106.
Taiwo B B A, Aluko F A and Olufowobi O A 2006 Reproductive wastage in some urban Abattoir in Ogun State. In the Proceedings of the 2006 Annual Nigerian Society for Animal Production Conference, Pp: 102 – 106.
Workneh A 1999
Preliminary view on aggregating biological and socio-economic function for
evaluation of goat production in sustainable agriculture with reference to small
holder mixed farms in eastern Hararghea, Ethiopia. P. 67-76. In: proceeding of
the second annual EAGODEV 8-10 December 1998. Arusha, Tanzania.
Wosu L O and Dibua E C 1992 Lamb and kid wastage through slaughtering of pregnant ewes and goats at Enugu and Nsukka abattoirs in Anambra State, Nigeria. In: Rey, B., Lebbie, S.H.B. and L. Reynolds (eds), Small ruminant research and development in Africa. Proceedings of the first biennial conference of the African small ruminant research network, ILRAD, Nairobi, Kenya.
Received 9 March 2013; Accepted 27 March 2013; Published 1 May 2013
Go to top