Livestock in India
Strengthening animal welfare in the villages
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/
The living conditions of various livestock in the rural areas of the Indian state of Odisha are commonly dire: Not only is there a lack of basic veterinary care, but the animals’ owners often don’t know how to take care of their animals overall. To change this, we are working together with the local organisation Action for Protection of Wild Animals (APOWA). By providing mobile veterinary service clinics and supporting the establishment of local animal welfare groups, we aim to improve the lives of the animals in Odisha’s communities long-term.
In the most rural villages of the East Indian state of Odisha, thousands of people live in meek conditions way below the poverty line. They depend on agriculture to provide them and their families with food, there is rarely anything left afterwards. Their animals like cattle, sheep, goats and pigs play a vital role and are essential helpers – but suffer under the bad living conditions. Animal welfare does not play a role given the struggle people face daily.
When there is a lack of knowledge, animal welfare awareness, and veterinarians…
In most villages, there are barely any practicing veterinarians and if there is one, the costs for the treatment are not affordable. Additionally, animal owners barely know anything about the appropriate owning and handling of their animals and as a result struggle to decide at what point their animal needs help. Life-threatening diseases, which spread among the animals uninhibitedly, as well as painful injuries invested with parasites are the heartbreaking result of this lack of knowledge. Many people living in the villages in Odisha can only hope that prayers and traditional curative treatments such as mud baths or herbal tinctures will improve their livestock’s recovery rate – but more often than not, this does not have a positive effect on the animal’s condition.
Every year, countless animals lose their life because of the missing veterinary treatment as well as terrible living conditions they are held in.
All-round service for the animals
To improve the animals’ lives long-term, on 25 days per month, the team from our partner travels to the most remote regions in Odisha. During these clinic days, the leading veterinarian, an animal handler, who will inform the people about appropriate keeping and nutrition, and several volunteers examine the donkeys, cattle, sheep, goats and pigs as well as de-worm them and give urgently needed vaccinations, for example against blackleg or foot and mouth disease. For these treatments, a small fee is charged to raise awareness among the animal owners that the veterinary treatment by vets or veterinary assistants is a financial responsibility they must carry. This is the only way to ensure extensive self-sufficient veterinary care long-term.
The state of health of each individual animal, course of treatment, and medication administered is documented in detail. Therefore, in subsequent visits the team can evaluate both the treatments’ efficiency and the impact of our engagement on overall animal health long-term.
Helping people help themselves
Along the assurance of veterinary care being accessible at all times, the animal welfare awareness of the people needs to be increased to improve animal welfare long-term. The people must be able to see whether their animals are healthy and if not, know how to proceed and what to do. Therefore, for any treatment administered by our partners, the animals’ owners are taught some basic knowledge in primary care and animal health. They learn about nutrition, animal care, housing and the necessity of vaccinations and rest periods for cattle and donkeys. In additional separate training sessions, the people are taught about animal welfare and animal health in general, to accomplish the foundation of knowledge that is required to be a responsible animal owner.
Furthermore, in every community, an animal welfare group is founded. The especially engaged locals – always being animal owners themselves - learn how to improve animal welfare on their own and are given some animal health education and equipment to take care of small wounds and illnesses. This way, the group is able to evaluate animals’ living conditions and state of health and can suggest required improvements and therapy measures, whenever our team is not nearby. For this, we provide each community with a first aid kit, which is re-filled with new medication and materials regularly. In cases where proper veterinary care is needed, an emergency phone number can be called which connects people to the employees at APOWA. Knowledge is regularly exchanged between the different groups and mutual evaluations and quality controls intend to result in a long-term inter-communal animal welfare standard that will affect the animals’ living conditions positively.
Natural catastrophes: Preparation and help in an emergency
Odisha is affected especially hard by natural catastrophes. There is a reason this region is called the capital of catastrophes of India. Since 2017, we have supported our partner organisation on numerous occasions with additional emergency relief measures to help the animals, such as livestock but also dogs and cats, after a cyclone time after time had caused indescribable damage. Since March 2020, we have been providing emergency aid measures ever since the coronavirus has continually worsened the conditions for the local animals.
According to experts, this situation will worsen increasingly in the future due to climate change. Thus, knowledge about how to prepare for extreme weather events, the appropriate behaviour during such an event and the care of weak and injured animals afterwards, is of utter importance and an essential part of our work with APOWA. We have expanded the Disaster Response Team of our partner organization, provided them with further education and have given them additional equipment. Their task is to spread the knowledge on how to act during a natural catastrophe and how to take care of injured and weak animals in the village. They, for example, teach people about where to go with the animals, how to store food for times in need and what medical care the animals might need after a catastrophe.
Along the informational work during the mobile clinics, the team can be reached around the clock through an emergency hotline and will travel to the specific location to save animals in need when necessary.
Over the last two years, this approach has been very successful: Currently, there are people trained on animal first aid in 25 villages! More than 20.000 times our teams have provided live-saving veterinary care for animals and nearly 3.200 animal owners have received professional help for their animals for the first time!
However, the need for further help in constantly increasing – especially in the last few months. We urgently need to expand on our service and aim to provide animal welfare measures in another 40 villages. Thousands of cattle, donkeys, goats and sheep only have one chance. Please support our work with a donation – and help us improve the welfare of the animals in Odisha.