Mission of World Animal Day:
“To raise the status of animals in order to improve welfare standards around the globe. Building the celebration of World Animal Day unites the animal welfare movement, mobilising it into a global force to make the world a better place for all animals. It’s celebrated in different ways in every country, irrespective of nationality, religion, faith or political ideology. Through increased awareness and education we can create a world where animals are always recognised as sentient beings and full regard is always paid to their welfare.” ~ World Animal Day
Every year for World Animal Day a grant is awarded to a particular cause and this year it has been awarded to Tanzania Animal Welfare Society led by Dr Thomas Kahema. The grant was generously awarded by Naturewatch Foundation.
I was pleased to see that the funding had gone to this cause as the money awarded will be specifically helping to reduce the terrible suffering and abuse that donkeys endure on a daily basis.
Mpwapwa in central Tanzania is a poor rural area and donkeys play an essential role in farming and transportation, however, they are badly mistreated and forced to work under extremely abusive and unacceptable conditions.
Despite a donkey’s gentle and hard working nature, they have a very low social status and are taken advantage of and generally receive no consideration for health or welfare needs. They wear badly fitting harnesses that cause bruising and open wounds and are regularly whipped to gain maximum productivity.
A typical donkey will regularly carry more than half its body weight in loads that they must carry for long distances and at an unnatural speed.
Mpwapwa’s water situation is rapidly becoming a serious issue and as the wells dry up people are being forced further out of the village to be able to access water.
Donkeys are used to transport water, which is essential for the health and livelihoods of the people living there. The distance the donkeys have to travel is becoming farther and farther away as local water supplies diminish.
To tackle the problem Tanzanian Animal Welfare Society is working with school children, local government officials, village leaders, local agricultural colleges, animal welfare inspectors and livestock officers to prevent wounds and sores, to improve treatment and monitor the donkeys to raise awareness of animal welfare.
Recently Tanzania has implemented an Animal Welfare Act which is considered to be the best in Africa, although, first the work has to be done to educate the people there so that they understand the meaning of welfare and also how to treat animals fairly.
Work has also been done to redesign harnesses and also to implement the use of padding to reduce the pain and discomfort the donkeys endure. The donkey owners are also being taught to use verbal commands instead of whips.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
All of the new procedures that have been put in place are going to be passed on to other villages to show the difference in the health of the donkey and how making small changes can make a huge difference in reducing suffering.
As well as the plight of the donkeys the grant will also be used to aid the out of control situation with stray dogs and cats. There are 6,000 dogs and 2,000 cats that are treated appallingly due to the fear of rabies.
Unfortunately “spay and neuter” is not an easy option as the lack of finances and veterinary services means that the people of Mpwapwa cannot resolve the problem on their own. The grant will help to tackle the problem of roaming and diseased animals so that humans and animals can exist side by side peacefully by putting in place permanent changes.
Donations can be made to the Naturewatch Foundation and The Donkey Sanctuary to help these organisations carry out vital work to reduce terrible and unimaginable suffering that donkeys and other animals endure across many third world countries.
“We have to speak up on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves.” ~ Peter Singer, Animal Liberation
Author: Alex Myles
Editor: Travis May