Harare — POLICE have arrested 65 butchery owners and closed 20 butcheries and 11 restaurants in three major cities in an operation to curb cattle rustling and the illegal sale of meat.
The butcheries, butchery owners and restaurants from Harare, Mutare and Bulawayo were either not licenced to sell meat or had workers who were not certified fit to work in food outlets.
Anti-stock theft co-ordinator Assistant Commissioner Bernard Dumbura said the outlets were closed as the police anti-stock theft unit launched a new operation to curb cattle rustling named "Eradicate Cattle Rustlers market number 10."
"The operation runs from March 1 to March 8, 2009 and is meant to eradicate cattle rustling.
"We are targeting unlicensed butcheries and those that are receiving meat from stolen cattle. The exercise has so far netted 65 butchery owners and closed 20 butcheries and 11 restaurants," he said.
Asst Insp Dumbura said police would mount roadblocks on all the country's major roads, carry out raids on street meat vendors and houses of people selling meat.
"We want to urge the public to report all those involved in the illegal sale of meat at their homes or known cattle rustlers," he said.
He said the operation would also target registered butcheries that have not yet renewed their operating licences or have employees who were not certified to work in food shops as required by the law.
Asst Insp Dumbura warned butchery owners against receiving uninspected meat as all cattle whose meat is sold to the public needed to be slaughtered at licensed abattoirs or slaughter points in accordance with the Public Health Act.
Cattle rustling is decimating the national herd and has severely affected the national restocking programme.