Dog meat vendors in Port Harcourt, the capital city of Rivers State are wailing over the scarcity of dog in the state, which they said has forced them to shut down their businesses.
The vendors and consumers who speak with our correspondents blamed the scarcity of the domestic animal on the rise in demand, which they said was not so even in the late 90s.
Dog, commonly known as 404, is believed to have several accrued health benefits, even as many, mostly in the Christian folk, still regard it as a taboo and forbidden food.
For Batak and Tapanuli people, dog meat and pork have been considered as common foods every day and they can be found easily there.
TNN gathered that the consumption of dog meat, whether roasted or prepared as pepper soup can help increase energy especially for men. This is said to be because of the high protein content in the animal, which is useful for resurrecting energy.
Another benefit from eating dog meat, which is said to be same as beef, with soft fibre includes prevention from weakness. Proteins and calories in dog meat are useful as source of energy so that a person who feels weak and tired can consume this meat for his body healthiness.
Speaking with TNN in an exclusive interview, a regular consumer of dog meat, Mr. Victor Dike said “from history, from the information available to us, they said it has some curative efficacies. Like I learnt, it’s an antidote for malaria, typhoid, all these sicknesses that easily attack the system, that it’s an antidote of such.
“I have actually experienced it, especially when I was in school, I took time to spend most of my food habit with dog meat and I experienced that I was just not sick within that period, you know, I made it a diet. So, that’s my little knowledge.
“You know the hunt level is high, if you hear the maxim, Calabar meat, or you say 404, so, anywhere you hear that maxim 404 just dawn on you that they are making reference to the dog meat not just any other type of meat.
So hence the hunt, or the want is high, the scarcity is inevitable because if 10 people have ten matured dogs and the ten matured dogs are being sold out in one month, it invariably implies that the next week, it may be difficult to find a dog to eat So, the ownership of dog is few while the want is high, hence, it’s scarce.”
A vendor, Mr. Raphael Ordu said: “Since we started this dog meat business, past years, then we were having surplus of dogs, anywhere we go we see dogs but now, we find it very difficult to see dog to buy and even if you see dog, it will be on a very high price because, before people don’t eat dog meat, people don’t even like dog meat before but now, people prefer dog meat even more than the cow meat. So, that is why dog is scarce.
“Dog meat, if you go to the Bible, there are some meat that the scripture said we should not eat, and those meats they said we should not eat, in the scripture too, there are places in the Bible too, the Bible said those meats somebody can eat it, just that this dog meat is a meat that, from what we heard from our forefathers, before we began to eat the meat, the thing cure, they use dog meat for many things, there are some things they use dog meat to do, even many people don’t know, many things that come from dog they use it for many things which some people don’t know, it cures malaria, you can use the oil, you can filter the oil and use it for anything like cooking, frying and you can use the blood to cure this thing that comes out of somebody’s ears. So, even the head, you can use the head to prepare some medicines, so, there are so many things they use dog meat to do.”
Reacting to the impact of ostracizing female dogs in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area and some LGAs on the scarcity of dog meat, he said, “ even then dog was everywhere, Obio/Akpor, we don’t train female dog, those days we still had dogs everywhere because dog is one thing that gives birth to so many children.
“So, when a dog give birth, some of them give birth to 15, 12, 10, 13, so, you can imagine when one dog gives birth to 15, 12 children, and more than 50 persons have female dogs, one person may have one or two or three, you can see when they start giving birth, you can now check and calculate how many dogs come out in a year, and dog gives birth two times in a year, every six months, like goat, so, if like 100 persons have female dog, like you go to Etche we can have like 100 persons that have dogs.
“If you come to Igwuruta, you have people that have a dog, you go to Isiokpo, Elele, all those areas you have people that have dog, when you combine all of them, and they begin to give birth, you can see that in a year we can have up to one million dogs.
“Yes, so many have been requesting for dog meat. But to get dog meat now, before you can see dog meat to buy, it’s in the north, people go to the north to book and order for dog, and sometimes before the dog comes from the north to this place, so many will die and the northern dogs are not as sweet as our own dog. I don’t cook northern dogs, I only cook our own dogs because northern dogs don’t have taste like our own dog meat.”