Drivers for Animal Welfare Policies in Africa28 October 2014
A new study from Lesotho calls for improved understanding of animal welfare in African countries or there could be deleterious effects in future on economic growth as well as national and international trade.
Livestock in Africa represent on average 30 per cent of the agricultural gross domestic product (GDP) and about 10 per cent of the national GDP. Up to 300 million people depend on livestock for their income and livelihood. Accordingly, livestock are considered to be important for the African continent.
Despite this, little or no provision for animal welfare is made in the laws and regulations of most African countries, according to Marosi Molomo and T. Mumba of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security in Lesotho in Scientific and Technical Review published by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
However, the Organisation's Performance of Veterinary Services (PVS) Tool includes animal welfare as a critical competency in Veterinary Services, they explain, and most African countries have now conducted PVS appraisals.
The development of a Regional Animal Welfare Strategy in Africa is also important because it will provide opportunities for full engagement by all relevant parties. Key elements in this process should include collaboration and coordination in information dissemination to all stakeholders, who should include all those in the value chain. The roles played by the OIE Member Delegates and Focal Points, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), in driving animal welfare policy in most African countries are notable.
Without a level of understanding of animal welfare that is sufficient to support clear animal welfare policy development and implementation, problems may appear in the near future which could jeopardise the attainment of increased animal productivity and product quality, concluded Molomo and Mumba.
They added that this may have negative implications for economic growth and for national and international trade.
Molomo M. and T. Mumba. 2014. Drivers for animal welfare policies in Africa. Rev. sci. tech. Off. int. Epiz. 33:47-53.
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