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Rwanda Pushes Implementation Of Animal Welfare Guidelines

by Daniel Sabiiti
5:30 pm

Cows are among domestic animals physically abused during transportation

Rwanda government and stakeholders have agreed to embark on a systematic manner to start advocacy and implementation of Animal Welfare Guidelines in government programmes and development projects in the livestock sector in order to maximize impact in benefiting communities.

The Ministry of agriculture, Rwanda Animal Welfare Organisation (RAWO) and the Animal Welfare in Development Cooperation Programme (WTS) explored ways of implementing the international guidelines that were presented this June 13 to stakeholders, livestock farmers and law enforcement

The guidelines developed by WTS, follow research findings showing a big need to improve animal welfare in order to maximise the impact of development projects which have the animal component and the community.

The findings by WTS, assessed important areas such as the duty of care for animals involved in the project, the level of animal welfare knowledge and training among carers, the presence of guidelines for animal care, and the protection of animal welfare from negative effects

These showed that sustainability of development cooperation projects is hindered by various issues, with animal welfare emerging as a crucial concern especially due to poor handling and treatment of livestock animals by nef .

For example, negative consequences of inadequate animal welfare, such as preventable mortality and social disruption, can exacerbate poverty rather than alleviate it.

Animal welfare, encompassing the physical and mental well-being of animals, is integral to sustainable agriculture and the overall success of development projects. Poor animal welfare, which is mainly seen in transportation and rearing is believed to hinder project impact and negatively affect targeted benefiting communities.

Stakeholders in the livestock sector during a workshop to validate new animal welfare guidelines

The Ministry of Agriculture Director General for Animal Resources, Jean Claude Ndorimana said that animal welfare is very important to improving the quality and standards of livestock value chains and the new guidelines can be adapted in their respective programs and projects.

Ndorimana stated that farmers and veterinary officers’ education will be very important in implementing the guidelines as they come in direct contact with animals on a daily basis.

WTS is an international animal welfare organisation based in Berlin, Germany with activities in several countries in Africa including Rwanda, and so far the standards adopted by seven countries.

Jean Claude Masengesho, the Executive Director of RAWO presents the status of animal welfare in Rwanda

Jean Claude Masengesho, the Executive Director of RAWO said that the guidelines are aimed at having a collaborative effort in improving animal welfare, especially for livestock in Rwanda and creating awareness will be key.

“We are working with the WTS to implement these guidelines in Rwanda and the implementation requires advocacy from key stakeholders especially that there is evidence that some of the projects may not have intended impact because of lack of respect for animal rights,” Masengesho said.

Masengesho said that once the guidelines are approved at the national level, they will set precedence for improving animal welfare on the community level but also enable Rwanda to meet the international standards.

The new guidelines will be submitted to the government and approved by cabinet, however livestock keepers like Jean Claude Shirimpumpu, the President of Pig farmers said that there is need to establish a legal framework which can be used to hold persons in the animal value chain accountable.

The effects on mistreating animals have a direct impact on the end user and the players in the animal value-chain, that is why we need to have punitive measures and a law in place,” Shirimpumpu said.

Livestock farmers and traffic police discuss existing gaps in existing animal welfare regulations

Following the fact that existing regulations are generic and barely observed by animal handlers, stakeholders recommended an immediate follow up on the legal framework documents which are currently in the office of the Prime Ministers for submission to the cabinet for approval.

Rwanda Traffic Police Operations Commander, CSP Fabien Musinguzi, said that as long as there is a legal framework the implementation of the guidelines and enforcement will be easily done and immediately without any fail.

The Ministry of Agriculture revealed that the ministry is planning on signing a veterinary services mandate that will be followed up with ministerial instructions that will cover the new animal welfare guidelines.

Jean Claude Ndorimana, DG Minagri

These regulations and guidelines are expected to enhance Rwanda’s focus on implementing the One Health global agenda currently being implemented in Rwanda.

The global objective of One Health Policy is to enable a conducive of the environment for collaboration, coordination  and co-existence among humans, animals (domestic, wildlife) and environment to achieve optimal health outcomes.

Proper handling of animals reduces their stress and productivity

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