Dr. Evans Afriyie-Gyawu, a Ghana native and toxicologist at Georgia Southern University, has been working to improve meat production standards throughout his home country for nearly a decade. His research has centered around stemming the practice of slaughterhouses (or abattoirs) singeing and smoking meat with used and discarded tires. With little enforceable regulation, operations can cut corners and costs by using tires instead of the healthier––and more expensive––liquid petroleum gases like propane.
This process produces harmful smoke that permeates the meat, bioaccumulates in those who consume it, and blankets the surrounding cities.
To be sure, there are places working to change the industry within Ghana. Operations like the Kumasi Abattoir Company, Ltd. are at the forefront of changing meat production throughout the country in collaboration with Dr. Evans’ data. Their attention to safe workplace standards, modern inspection protocols, and their willingness to retrain butchers from unregulated meat processing facilities speak volumes about the sincerity of their efforts to foster a healthier population, despite how it negatively affects profits.
Meat consumption is part of life both in Ghana. It is a graphic process. It is at times shocking. But thinking food comes from a store is a fundamental mistake we make every day. Knowing where it comes from and how it’s prepared are the sorts of things that help us make more responsible decisions as a whole, and Dr. Evans and the Kumasi Abattoir Company are helping make changes that better protect the environment and those who exist within it.