A Bright Light Shining in the Darkness
The animal abuse in Uganda and its challenges to livestock development and how it has impacted the society in general.
There is as yet no independent comprehensive study in Uganda regarding the state of animal abuse/cruelty and compassion. However, aspects of the Five freedoms especially animal health which is the ultimate gauge and indicator of animal welfare have been studied. Animal disease cases and thus prevalence increased over the last 16 years during the policy reform period including the decentralization. It means animal welfare had been declining yearly resulting in increasing disease outbreaks and thus poor animal health and consequently poor production.
Specifically, there are issues of inadequate kindness, compassion and utter cruelty abuse in:
Most animals transported for all purposes,
Most animals at slaughter / termination of their lives,
Street / strayanimals,
Most animals under intensification farming (normal and industrial / mill farms),
Animals used in experiments,
Some animals in zoos and some sanctuaries,
Some animals used to guide the disabled persons,
Studies in general - have highlighted nutritional and watering challenging conditions at farm and community levels during especially drought periods in various livestock production systems thus affecting animal welfare and eventual the health of animals.
Another example of such abuse on animals is the recent past - cruelty in donkeys in which massive numbers of these very few but essential working animals (silent dedicated unpaid workers) were slaughtered putting the donkey survival, welfare and the poor household livelihoods at stake.
Stray and or street animals especially pets such as dogs and some ruminants continue to increase with inadequate viable compassionate or kind related alleviation strategies putting animals and man at health risks from RABIES and animals – man – vehicles at traffic accident risks. These animals also destroy property and make places of stay unhygienic.
Working animals such as donkeys and oxen most times used in remote in accessible poverty struck communities toil with minimum: rest – water – feeding and health care. This affects their wellbeing and output.
The Decentralization policy has also made it difficult to train personnel regularly in animal welfare and health and has also made it difficult for outreach services to be conducted in the field for especially the poor / rural and inaccessible farmers.
With the privatization policy of delivery of clinical services , excessive population controls especially for pets such as dogs through surgery,chemical interventions and general surgery / medicine in other livestock are too expensive for especially the poor rural based households unless assisted through voluntary / non-profit outreach services by NGOs.
Cattle / animal rustling especially in pastoralist areas of the semi-arid cattle corridor and animal thefts in various parts of Uganda expose animals to brutality, cruelty.
Director Bam animal clinics Uganda