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Basic concepts on animal welfare, humane education

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An overview on animal
welfare situation in Ethiopia
Tekelye Bekele, SAW-Ethiopia
P.O Box 3630, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Background information on
animal welfare
• A. W. can be defined and assessed using any one
of the following four concepts.
• A) By assessing the physical, mental
and natural states of an animal
• Physical state means the health of an animal
• Mental state means how it feels i.e. whether it has
fear or anxiety
• Natural state means satisfying its natural needs i.e.
association, grooming, perching, rooting, etc.
• B) In association with five freedoms
1. Freedom from hunger
2. Freedom from discomfort i.e. having shelter
3. Freedom from pain and suffering from disease
4. Freedom to express its normal behaviour
5. Freedom from fear and distress
• C) In association with sentience
• Animals are sentient creatures which need care
and protection against avoidable sufferings.
• Sentience implies that they
Are aware of their surroundings
Have an emotional dimension
Are aware of what is happening to them
Have the ability to learn from experience
Feel pain, hunger, heat, cold, etc
Are aware of their association with other
7. Are capable to choose between different
animals, objects and situations
• D) In association with basic needs
• Life sustaining needs such as food and water
required for ensuring survival
• Health sustaining needs for avoiding disease and
• Comfort sustaining needs for contributing to the
quality of animal life i.e. housing
• Animal welfare and productivity
• A. W. is inseparably linked with animal health and
• All are required for improving the physiology,
survival and productivity of animals.
• Welfare, health and productivity should be tackled
without undermining one and overemphasising on
the other.
• Historical perspective of animal
welfare movement
1. England is the pioneer of the movement (15001800. Jeremy Bentham’s logic in the 18th century.
The question is not whether animals can reason or
talk, but can they suffer- fundamental concepts for
the animal welfare movement.
2. Anthropomorphic view dominated in the 19th
century i.e. ascribing human characteristics to
animals and degrading them as non-humans &
justifying their sufferings.
3. First law in 1781 – on treatment of cattle at
Smithfield market in London
4. 1822-1840 – Royal Society for the Prevention of
Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) was established
5. 1876 law against vivisection i.e. against cruelty
to experimental animals
6. 1911 – The Protection of Animal Act in the UK
7. Different regulations appeared in different
countries since that time. 62 out of 192 countries
have animal welfare regulations in the world,
2004 WSPA study.
8. 1970 - Movement split into animal welfare and
animal right
9. In 2002 Germany became the first country to
protect animals in its constitution
10. EU and EC has variable regulations on welfare,
research, transport, agriculture and marketing
11. Shift from national movement to international
campaigns and creating pressure on other
countries: anti-whaling, sealing, bear farming,
poaching, long distance transport, civet farming.
12. Current focus: Universal Declaration on Animal
Welfare by United Nations
• Animal welfare movement in Africa
• A. W. movement is recent in Africa
• First A. W. organization established in Ethiopia in
1954; but ceased to exist without accomplishing
its objectives.
• At present six to seven organizations operate in
• Almost all are dependent on external help.
Animal welfare problems in
1. Problems of animal transport by
trucks, trains, trekking by foot,
carrying poultry up side down, etc
Body weight loss, physical injury, stress leading
to pasteurellosis, mortality loss and possibility of
spreading animal diseases.
Inhumane & inappropriate transportation
2. Inhumane slaughter in abattoirs
• Inappropriate stunning by neck-stub method
• Stunning and bleeding at the same place or side by
• Skinning conscious animals
• Forceful unloading, using excessive force when
3. Inhumane management of stray dogs
• Rabies is a very big problem in Addis Ababa since
there are too many dogs with no proper control
• Free mixing of house hold and stray dogs
• No planned rabies control program
• Up to 30,000 stray dogs are killed yearly by an
inhumane strychnine poisoning
• Strychnine makes animal suffer before resulting
death by asphyxiation
4. Inadequate handling of working
Working long hours continuously
No treatment for saddle sore
Overloading when carrying or pulling loads
Lack of proper outfit and not being shod
Neglect to provide additional feed
5. Abandoning animals
• Aged equines, animals suffering from incurable
diseases such as epizootic lymphangitis and
unwanted pets are frequently abandoned
• Selective abandoning of female puppies
• Change in living condition is forcing some owners
to abandon their pets
6. Drought and animal loss
• Heavy losses of animals has occurred in Ethiopia
due to drought at different times
• Animals are neglected when providing emergency
• They require water, feed and medicaments. But
animal feed are bulky and difficult to deliver. They
are not easily acquired from outside like human
food stuffs as well.
7. Mutilation
of animal body and related
• Hanging broody hen upside down
• Inserting a thorn or a sharp piece of wood across
the nostrils of broody hen
• Rubbing the mouth of a docile dog with an irritant
to force it to change its behaviour
• Clubbing and stoning to death rabid animals
• Improper killing to contain outbreaks
8 Animal welfare problems of wild life
Encroaching habitat by bush clearing, cutting,
burning, grazing, ploughing, settlement and
commercial farming
Killing by poaching, mistaken legal hunting, etc
Problems in zoos
Problems under captivity
Wild life health problems
9. Animal w. problems of environmental
Danger of littering the environment with plastics
and butchers refuse
Animals are sometimes exposed to
environmental toxicities such as toxic plants,
chemicals, pesticides, acaricides and other
industrial effluents
Suggested solutions for animal
welfare problems
1. Animal welfare regulation
2. Animal welfare education
3. Improving the health, management and welfare
4. Rabies control and dog ownership regulation
5. Population reduction in pets
6. Humane slaughter in abattoir
7. Humane euthanasia when required
8. Reforestation and environmental protection
9. A reliable animal rescue and long term
Intervention policy to overcome drought and
other calamities
10. Organic animal agriculture
• Ethiopia is a developing country which is
struggling to reduce poverty and attain food
security. The livestock sector of its economy is
very high although it has not been utilized
properly so far. But, it is still contributing about
half of the agricultural sector of the national
economy. Wild life is also contributing very much.
Hence it is highly necessary to improve the health,
welfare and productivity of such very big resource
in order to fulfil the desired development goal.
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