© 2015 AU-IBAR. Participants at the meeting at Fish Eagle Inn, Naivasha 27th-29th July 2015.The meeting was officially opened by the Director A-IBAR professor Ahmed Elsawalhy, who welcomed all participants to the meeting and wished them fruitful deliberations.
The Director commended the existing partnership between World Animal Protection and other partners and emphasized the need for Africa to lead the way in promoting AW and for AU-IBAR to take the lead by providing leadership and resources. The director, however, observed that promotion of AW has not received adequate attention and resources especially in areas of policies and legislation; while much attention has been concentrated in the areas of companion and draught animals it may provide useful experience.
The Director said that in order to fill any existing gaps and improve advocacy, policy/strategy and legislation in animal welfare; AU-BAR has taken AW as a key result area. This will lead to enhanced compliance of AW in Member States (MS).
In his remarks, the OIE Sub-Regional Representative for Eastern Africa, Dr. Walter Masiga indicated that animal welfare was first identified as a priority in the OIE Strategic Plan 2001-2005 and emphasized the role of OIE as the international reference organization in providing standards, recommendations and guidelines covering animal welfare practices. He said that many OIE standards and actions have been developed and that the scope of AW developed by OIE provides a suitable framework for developing actions for AW. He emphasized the fact that AW standards should be science based, copying and pasting AW regulations from other regions may lead to negative effects in terms of adoption and implementation.
Dr. Bouna Diop, Regional Manager of FAO ECTAD for East Africa, in his speech, looked at AW as an ethical good and said that in the recent past, AW area has attracted increasing concern related to the requirements of AW standards in production and consumerism. Studies have quantified the economic value of AW and proved that if improved, it can contribute to economic wellbeing. It is also evident that any systematic attention to best practices in production systems can lead to increased productivity.
The Africa Director, World Animal Protection, Mr. Tennyson Williams focused his speech that the misconception of animal welfare is a western concept. He said that unfortunately the twisted notion is misleading and there is need to examine its source in order to deal with it. This misconception he said is part of the genesis of problems related to harnessing the full potential of Africa’s animal resources. As such, there is need to put AW on Africa’s development agenda.
In his speech, The Brooke Eastern Africa Regional Representative, Fred Ochieng while quoting from the book by George Orwell (‘The Animal Farm’) explained how the animal’s perceptions on their poor welfare status is akin to the realities of today where many of the welfare problems facing animals can be associated with negligence, poor handling and practices as well as abuse by owners and users. Fred called on members present to strive to impact positively on the policy and legislative environments affecting the welfare of animals, recognize their contribution to the economy, and strife to make a difference to improve the welfare of all animals. He emphasized the need for stronger participation and collaboration particularly amongst all AW organizations.