Friday, 20 September 2013

THE MULTIDISCIPLINARY STAKEHOLDERS WORKSHOP


The Lilongwe Society for the Protection and Care of Animals organized a workshop on 19th September, 2013.  The aim of the workshop was to look at the guidelines on how the community should manage animals considering that animal welfare is a very important agenda.  The importance of this workshop saw the presence of the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Jermoth Ulemu Chilapondwa, as the guest of honor.  
Among other things, the Deputy Minister highlighted that ensuring animal welfare, which is the means of how an animal is coping, is a human responsibility.  We should make sure that animals have good housing and feeds, and that they are handled and slaughtered in a humane way.  He said good animal welfare means good human welfare since almost 60% of the Malawian population depends on livestock products.  This can be achieved by ensuring that farmers have access to good husbandry techniques because it is directly related to good animal welfare, which also includes freedom from hunger, thirst and malnutrition, freedom from fear and distress, freedom from physical and thermal discomfort, freedom from pain, injury and diseases and freedom to express normal patterns of behavior.   Ever since the Malawi Animal Protection Act was reviewed in 1970, the country still has inadequate animal legislation hence the need for another review.  At the moment, the government is setting up a veterinary school to enable farmers access new technologies needed to improve livestock welfare.
One of the issues that was tackled at the workshop was how the issue of animal welfare can be approached. Rabies reduction was specified.  Rabies, which is spread mostly by dogs and cats, can be reduced by knowing the population of the animals which leads to proper planning of education, sterilization, legislation, management, etc.

The recommendations that were made at the workshop to make sure that good animal welfare is achieved in Malawi were that since animal welfare is involved by a lot of issues, it needs to be addressed by more than one organization.  Some of the organizations which were mentioned are LSPCA, Wildlife, the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR), Ministry of Health, Civil Society, Malawi Veterinary Association, the Malawi Police and Cold Storage. It was also recommended that the Animal Protection Act should be looked at and revised if need be.

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