Animal husbandry in South Africa
Responsible handling of pigs, cattle and co.
Covid-19 crisis: Animal welfare work in times of a pandemic
Some activities and focal points of our animal welfare work worldwide – whether sanctuaries, trainings or mobile clinics – had to be paused or adapted in response to the pandemic:
Still, it is our highest priority to safe animal lives, but we cannot risk the health of our partners in doing so. To enable us to carry on our basic animal welfare work despite the current crisis, we have developed the WTG Emergency Fund. Read more about the fund here https://welttierschutz.org/en/wtg-emergency-fund/
We promise to do everything in our power to continue offering the best protection for all animals – the stray cats and dogs, livestock such as donkeys, cattle, sheep and goats as well as wildlife like pangolins and sloths, elephants and bears. Please support our work https://welttierschutz.org/secure/spenden/emergency-fund/
Together with the oldest Animal rescue organisation, Cape of Good Hope SPCA (Cape SPCA), we convey knowledge to small farmers that own farm animals like cattle, pigs and chicken. We inform them about the wellbeing of their animals, so that in future deficits and following that animal suffering can be prevented in the long-term.
In Blue Downs, on the eastern outskirts, and in Philippi, one of Cape Town's largest townships, poverty and unemployment are widely spread Many people put their hope for a better live in farming and keep therefore animals- usually for self-supply. However, since many of them are not familiar with the basic needs of the animals, animals suffering is an immediate result.
In order to strengthen disadvantaged groups of the population and offer them a way out of poverty, the South African government has supported people who want to build up an existence by means of animal husbandry and therefore provides areas for agricultural use. Animal keeping mainly serves as a form of self-sufficiency. However, knowledge transfer regarding the keeping of these animals is not a part of this governmental support programme, although the majority of the people has little agricultural experience and especially no relevant skills concerning the handling and keeping of livestock.
As a consequence, numerous donkeys, chickens, pigs, cattle, sheep and goats live their lives under miserable conditions. Frequently, the stables only consist of a few square metres surrounded by a fence without roofing or any kind of shelter from the sun and rain. Oftentimes the animals do not have free access to fodder and water. Furthermore, several areas where the animals graze are polluted by waste such as spikes, plastic or glass and are not sufficiently secured. The animals therefore suffer frequently from severe injuries and illnesses.
Moreover, the transport sometimes takes places under the most unfortunate conditions. The animals are tied up on the open-load floors of trucks. They have no chance of moving and are often exposed to the scorching sun for hours. For those reasons, cases of death occur repeatedly.
Increasing animal welfare by strengthening knowledge
Together with our partner organisation Cape of Good Hope SPCA, we tackle these problems. Our goal is to help animal keepers who are hardly aware of the grievances on their farms or are not able to help themselves and their animals alone. Through further training, we provide them with the necessary skills. Courses with ten theoretical and practical animal welfare modules prepare them to improve their keeping standards and therefore the quality of life of their animals in the long term.
In theoretical as well as practical trainings, they learn the basic knowledge for their everyday life as animal keepers and the best possible care for their animals. For example, they are trained in optimising the stables, feeding routines and hygiene in order to create animal friendlier keeping conditions.
A successful concept
Since the beginning, the project has shown big successes: During their first visits on the farms in the project area, our partners have already motivated 190 farmers to participate in the programme since 2016.
The theoretical courses initially took place in traditional classes, coming together in school buildings provided by the city administration. After that, the farmers mutually visited each others’ farms together with our partners, analysed the status quo and worked on individual goals and ways of improvement in order to put them into practice later on.
The corona crisis as a chance
Due to the corona crisis and the resulting restrictions, the workshops have not been implemented as planned since spring 2020. But our animal welfare education programme leading to improvements in the well-being of the animals should not have come to a standstill despite the situation. Therefore, »a new concept was developed, making trainings for farmers possible regardless of the limited options: The theoretical contents of the animal welfare modules are now also transferred directly on the farms through individual visits.
This comes with a bit more effort, but bears the advantage that the individual circumstances and problems can be tackled more specifically. Additionally, improvements in the animal welfare situation can be discussed directly with our partner and then be implemented immediately.
All farmers participating in the project receive further support for several time after the workshops, to help them with the application and implementation of their new knowledge.
At the beginning of the project, our focus was to reach the 100 farms situated directly in the Blue Downs township. Due to the positive feedback of the farmers, the project area now has been extended to the surrounding villages. The long-term goal is to reach all of the almost 700 farms and to create a sustainable and animal-friendly environment for the farm animals. Please help us reaching this goal – with your donation!