Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Animal Cruelty Diary: Chicken Transportation

Jones Phiri, makes an honest living selling chickens near area 18 Dip Tank , his usual spot is right beneath a large mango tree which helps him escape the scorching sun.

Located a few feet from his position is a parked bicycle which is leaning against the tree; on top of the bicycle carrier is a carefully place cage that is housing two local chickens.

A small scale business man, Mr. Phiri patiently waits there, all day if he has to, for a buyer.

Next to his bicycle are a bunch of leaves which according to Phiri are used to provide shade for the chickens during transportation. A look into cage reveals a plate of feed and some water for the chickens. 

"In order to attract the best clients in need to keep my chickens in good shape that’s why I make sure that they have adequate food and water and are kept out of the sun", explained Phiri.

Unfortunately, very few people in the country feel the same compassion for animals as Phiri does. These days it is a common sight in towns and surrounding locations to see chickens carried in large numbers with their legs bound together on a bicycle frame or handle-bar with their heads down, these chickens are carried this way for a long distance.

Transporting Chickens in this manner has become the most common form of animal cruelty practiced in our society today; unfortunately such acts have become the norm and many people seem not to care about the animal’s suffering.

Lonjezo Jackson, another chicken seller, says he opts to transport his chickens on handle bars because this enables him to carry as many chickens as possible.

“I am a poor man and I need to make money for my family, if I use the cages I will make less money.
“Does it really matter if they suffer, they will be slaughtered anyway…….besides they are only Chickens”, said Jackson.

What many people like Mr. Jackson fail to realize is that animals need as much care and love as we do; for example, if chickens are kept and confined in stressful condition or are not provided with adequate medical services, they will not grow healthy hence will not produce good eggs or meat production, this eventually affects the seller’s income.

But most importantly, treating them in this way is a direct violation of the Animal Protection Act; Cap 66: 01 of the Malawian Constitution which condemns any form of cruelty towards animals.

Realizing that most people are not aware of this act LSPCA conducts education seminars with various stakeholders and tries to sensitize them on the Animal Protection Act.

LSPCA also runs Humane Education Lessons in schools and communities as well as educate animal transporters like Jackson on the proper transportation methods and at the same time tries to instil a sense of compassion towards animal’s welfare.

In order to aid in LSPCA's mission Mr. Phiri has vowed to teach his fellow chicken seller on how they can also properly take care of their chickens.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Finding a needle in a haystack

Mr Li made the responsible decision to get his cat spayed, but unfortunately the wound got infected when his cat wouldn't stop licking the sutures.

Mr Li came up with what he thought was an ingenious plan of making (cat's name) a dress out one of his old jumper sleeves.  Unfortunately the cat's compulsive tendancies didn't stop there as she licked up the needle &thread and swallowed it whole! 

Mr Li desperately tried to retrieve said needle from the back of his precious pet's throat, with no success.  He rushed the cat to the LSPCA where she was immediately anaesthetised and x-rayed.

Luckily needles show up clearly on x-rays and it was localised to the stomach. Our resident Vet was able to retrieve it from the stomach, after a few mutterings about " finding a needle in a haystack"!

The cat is doing well & back home with Mr Li, thankful she has a buster collar not a dress to wear! 

The needle after it was removed from the cats stomachs

Our Vet, Sophie carefully removing the needle from the cats stomach

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Get your pets spayed

Trixie narrowly escaped a caesarean section, after being unexpectedly mated with a larger dog. She finally gave birth naturally on our consult room table and the picture shows her with her large first born puppy.

Although the pregnancy was unplanned, the owners of the dog have gladly welcomed the little ones into their family, but realize the importance of getting her spayed before this can happen again. This highlights the potential risks of unwanted pregnancies to mother and babies’ health as well as financial implications for the owner of not addressing the reproductive status of their pet. 

Look out for follow-up pictures of Trixie and her offspring on the LSPCA facebook site!

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

LSPCA holds AKC workshop

Naomi Kabala is one Malawian who has made a vow to safe guard the welfare of animals in the country through educating students in her class and club about the importance good animal welfare.

Kabala, a school teacher and Animal Kindness Club patron at Kaliyeka LEA school says that a lot of people do not take issues of animal kindness to heart mainly because of culture and attitude.

“With proper information we have a chance to change the mindset of our future generation,” she said.

Kabala was among a group of AKC patrons that gathered at LSPCA offices on 19 December, 2013 for an AKC training workshop that was aimed at creating a platform where patrons would be able to come together and share ideas, skills and experiences on how to effectively run the AKC’s.

The workshop, which brought together patrons from 20 public primary schools in Lilongwe, consisted of several presentations from LSPCA facilitators, a tour of the LSPCA compound as well as focus group discussions among the participants.

Kabala said that through discussions and presentations they were able to draw up activities that will be implemented in the 2014 school calendar.

According to the Kaliyeka patron, teachers have agreed to conduct several inter- school competitions in order to create a stronger network of AKCs.

During his presentation, LSPCA Programmes director Richard Ssuna said that teachers have an important role to play in disseminating information about animal welfare in the schools and in their communities.

He urged them to continue working closely with LSPCA and said that their interest to take part in the workshop reveals just how committed they are to protecting animal welfare in the country.

Other presenters included Education officers; Edson Chiweta, Christopher Zambira and LSPCA Veterinarian Sophie Widdowson.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Court finds Universal Security Company guilty of animal cruelty

When Maximus was first brought to LSPCA he weighed a mere 22 kg, unusual for a dogs of his size, his was body dehydrated and infested with fleas, his legs swollen and with several wounds.

Although it was evident that this male adult German shepherd had suffered extensively at the hands of his owners (Universal Security Company) he still remained a good natured dog.

Maximus along with 6 other dogs were brought to LSPCA clinic in September, 2013 after being rescued from Universal Security Company upon receiving tips from the public of the harsh conditions that the dogs were being subdued to.

The dogs were found in a broken down vehicle that had been used to transfer them from where they had been guarding. They were tied to the truck and made sit in the sun for several hours on the side of the road without food or water.

It was instantly discovered that the dogs were being kept in the sun for over 5 hours without any food or water. Worse still, the food that was provided to them was barely enough to fill their empty stomachs.

Fortunately, with support from the Malawi Police, LSPCA managed to confiscate all six dogs and immediately began a series of medical treatments while placed in quarantine for 30 days.

The dogs were given rabies vaccines, deworming and flea treatment. With proper love and care, the dogs have now gained over 3kgs since they were first brought to LSPCA.

As one LSPCA staff members recalls, the dogs were really in a pathetic state, they would finish an entire bowl of dog food within seconds but still wanting more.

Today the dogs look nothing like the skinny, unhealthy dogs that they were barely two months ago.

Evidence provided by LSPCA veterinarians were enough for the courts to declare Universal Security Company guilty of cruelty to animals and were ordered to pay a fine of K80, 000 or risk a prison sentence of 12 months.

Although the court ruling appeared lenient, it is however promising to note that the Malawian Police and judicial system are slowly starting recognize crimes of animal cruelly as a major offence and are starting to take an active role in ensuring that the welfare of all animals are guarded. This is evident by the establishment of a special Police taskforce dedicated to the protection animal welfare.

Luckily for Maximus and his fury friends, their life story does not end at LSPCA. Four dogs, including Maximus have been adopted, begining new chapter in lives.

                       BEFORE                                          AFTER

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Out of the jaws of death

Unable to resist the urge to dip their large bodies in cool water, one group of crocodiles which was housed in separate compartment burst through a wire fence at the sight of water being poured into a neighboring pond.

This demonstrates just how much pain crocodiles at Koma Croc farm were willing to endure to get a taste of water after being deprived of this necessity for such a long time.

It is now exactly one month since LSPCA led a joint rescue operation that resulted in the Malawi police confiscating over 200 crocodiles at Koma crocodile farm in Monkey, leaving them in the care LSPCA.

The operation, which brought together LSPCA, Malawi police, the Lilongwe Wildlife Center, the department of Animal Health and Livestock Management and the department of National Parks and Wildlife was aimed at rescuing the crocodiles from the cruel condition that they were subdued to, contrary to the Animal Protection Act.

A visit to the farm on 6 December revealed a different scenario; the ponds which stood in ruins barely a month ago have been renovated and are now filled with water giving the crocodiles the pleasure to cool the bodies after long bask in the sun.

One group of crocodiles was seen enjoying a mid-day swim while others were freely moving around the pond, contrary to state that the crocodiles were in when LSPCA first visited the area.

According to one of the farm caretakers, the crocodiles no longer spend sleepless nights without adequate as they are regularly fed.

He explains that the crocodiles are fed twice a week; the ones that were too weak to eat are force force fed. Through force feeding they have managed to save two crocodiles.

Thanks to the assistance rendered by Club Makokola who generously offered to cover all costs that were incurred in the renovation of the ponds and the local community members who have spared their precious time to help fetch water for the lake to the ponds, hope has been restored to the farm

However, due to the delay in prosecution of the owner, LSPCA is calling on other well-wisher to support in caring for these crocs as they consume a full cow every fortnight.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

LSPCA awards top students in the first ever Humane Education Exams

On 29 November, 2013 LSPCA awarded students who did extremely well in the Humane Education Exams that took place early this month.

Nine schools in Lilongwe sat for the Humane Education exams which were aimed at testing the children’s understanding of animal welfare issues before initiating them into the Animal Kindness Clubs.

The award presentation was held at Nkomachi Primary School in area 25, which was the only school that produced a student who scored as high as 100 per cent.

According to Programs Director for LSPCA Dr. Richard Ssuna the Humane Education classes as well as the Animal Kindness Clubs are aimed at promoting compassion towards animals in pupils and instill a sense of responsibility to the well-being of the animals under their care.

“These classes narrow the very wide knowledge gulf between the correct handling and basic care of animals and the norms in our society. Also we dispel the several traditional myths and beliefs that impact on perceptions held in certain communities about animals,” said Dr. Ssuna.

He further said that the program aims at reaching out to school going children and orient their thinking to cause an attitude change in both the individuals and the society they live in.

In addition to the already existing clubs, LSPCA now has 20 Animal Kindness Clubs under their belt. Through the Humane Education Programme LSPCA has reached over 6,000 pupils and 100 trainers and further seeks to roll out a Programme to the rest of the 54 public primary schools in Lilongwe.

Upon receiving his award Gift Kamwendo, the only pupil who managed to get all the questions correct, said that through the humane education classes he has learned a lot about animal welfare and protection.

“I wish all schools in the country had humane education classes, I look forward to advancing into the animal kindness clubs so that I can learn a lot more and broaden my understanding about animal welfare,” said Gift.

Out 1017 students that sat for the exam 511 have passed.

The exams were conducted in nine public primary schools in Lilongwe namely Mkomachi, Kaliyeka, Shire urban, Mvama, Mvunguti, Mlodza, Msambeta, Msambachikho and Chisamba.

However, despite Nkomachi having the best student, it was Chisamba LEA that walked away with the title of best school after displaying a pass rate of 80 per cent.

Speaking during the award presentation, patron for Chisamba Stophan Chambiya, said that Chisamba’s performance shows just how dedicated teacher are with animal welfare programe.

“We will continue to work with LSPCA and are more than ready to start the animal kindness clubs as soon as possible,” said Chambiya.

Other schools that did very well in the exams are Shire Urban and Kaliyeka Primary Schools who came second and third respectively.

The Animal Kindness Clubs are kindly supported by the National Council of SPCAs in South Africa.