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/
In the rural regions of the east Indian state of Odisha there is a lack of basic veterinary care for the countless livestock. In addition, many owners are not aware of how they can ensure the welfare of their animals themselves. In order to change this, we have been providing veterinary care together with the local organization Action for Protection of Wild Animals (APOWA) since 2017 as part of mobile clinics. We train first aiders and animal welfare groups in the villages for sustainable improvements.
In the remote villages of the Indian state of Odisha, thousands of people live with their animals in the simplest of conditions - well below the poverty line. By cultivating the fields, they can at least provide themselves with food, but often there is not enough for more. In view of the great needs of the people, animal welfare hardly plays a role.
When knowledge, animal welfare awareness and veterinarians are missing ...
Countless animals, including mainly cattle, goats, sheep and donkeys, help people cope with everyday life. But animal-friendly care is usually withheld from them. Because in many places there are too few practicing veterinarians and even if they are available, the treatment costs are hardly affordable for most people. In addition, the animal owners know little about animal welfare and animal-friendly husbandry and care. Life-threatening diseases that spread unhindered among the animals, as well as painful untreated injuries with parasite infestation are the sad consequences. Increasingly frequent weather extremes such as cyclones and floods make the situation even worse - and are fatal for many animals.
All-round care for the animals
We have been working since 2017 to change the lives of animals sustainably. A mobile veterinary team - consisting of a senior veterinarian, a veterinary assistant, an animal handler and volunteers - travels around 20 days a month to at least 5 different villages in the state of Odisha.
As part of the mobile clinics, the animals are examined and cared for in the villages. In addition, deworming is carried out and vaccinations are ensured to prevent the spread of often fatal diseases such as blackleg - a bacterial disease in cattle and sheep, which among other things results in lameness, high fever and swelling of the muscles - or the highly contagious viral foot-and-mouth disease. The state of health of each individual animal as well as the course of treatment and medication are documented with the help of individual index cards, which are given to the animal owners. In this way, on the one hand, the effectiveness of the treatments can be assessed at follow-up visits and, on the other hand, the lasting effects of our operations on animal health as a whole can be determined.
For the treatments, a small contribution is made to the cost of the animal by the animal owners in order to create awareness that veterinarians or veterinary specialists also have to assume financial responsibility for the health of their animals. These contributions are used for the procurement of first aid equipment. In this way, we want to pave the way to self-sustaining, comprehensive veterinary care.
Helping people help themselves
In addition to ensuring veterinary care, we also want to strengthen animal welfare in the long term using the strength of the villages themselves: They must be able to see for themselves whether their animals are doing well and implement measures to improve animal welfare on their own Request veterinary assistance if necessary. Therefore, when treating the animals, the animal owners are given basic knowledge about basic care and the health of the animals. Nutrition and care are also discussed here, as is the need for vaccinations and rest breaks for work animals such as cattle and donkeys. At the same time, the animal handler informs people about issues regarding animals husbandry-
In order to be able to provide sustainable animal-friendly feed for the animals, the cultivation and harvest of useful plants such as nutrient-rich algae ferns as well as the accumulation of harvest residues are taught, i.e. the use of plant parts such as roots, stubble residues or straw that are left in the field or after the harvest remain in the ground.
According to the motto “Help for self-help”, we also bring together particularly committed animal owners in animal welfare groups in each village and teach them how they can improve the welfare of animals independently through first aid measures. In addition to these lessons, these women and men also receive basic equipment from us in the form of first aid kits and are thus able to monitor the health of the animals in the absence of our teams and to initiate any necessary improvement or therapy measures independently. In cases where veterinary advice is required or the presence of a veterinarian is essential, you can contact our team at any time via an emergency number.
Four selected people per animal welfare group are trained as trainers as part of even more intensive training courses in order to then pass on the additional knowledge within their group. A constant exchange of knowledge between the various groups as well as mutual assessment and control should lead in the long term to a cross-community standard in matters of animal welfare, which has a lasting effect on the living conditions of the animals.
Every day 83 animal welfare groups (as of December 2020) are working for the welfare of the animals.
Crises and Disasters: Preparing for an Emergency
The state of Odisha is hit particularly hard by natural disasters. It is not without reason that the region is also called the Indian hotspot of extreme weather. We have already supported our partners several times with additional help, for example to rush to the aid of countless animals after devastating cyclones and floods. (With the spread of the coronavirus and the associated emergency situation for many livestock and stray animals, we have also been providing additional help by distributing feed since mid-2020.)
As the weather extremes will worsen in the future in view of the climate crisis, preparing for disasters and dealing with crisis situations has become an integral part of the project. In this way, the animal keepers in the villages we visited and especially the members of the animal welfare groups are given knowledge about the correct behaviour in relation to the care of animals before, during and after natural disasters. For example, people are instructed on how strengthening the immune system of animals can help prevent the rapid spread of diseases in the event of a disaster, where they can flee with their animals in the event of a cyclone or other natural disaster, and how they can store food for times of crisis.
In order to be able to provide quick help in the event of natural disasters, we have also expanded, trained and equipped a Disaster Response Team (an emergency team from our partners that has been deployed repeatedly in the past as part of emergency aid).
Since the beginning of our mission in Odisha we have been able to save an enormous number of animal lives through our measures, relieve them of suffering and pain and improve their state of health sustainably - in 2020 alone, our team spent a total of 233 days in over 50 villages and performed a total of 12,000 treatments on donkeys, cattle, goats, sheep or pigs.
But the increasing needs, from the corona crisis to the extreme weather, make the urgent need for the further expansion of our project clear: We will expand our life-saving animal welfare work to a further 30 villages and there, in addition to the acute care of the animals, also train new animal welfare groups.
Please enable us with your donation to create the basis for more animal welfare in Odisha!