Livestock markets in Tanzania
More compassion for farm animals
In spite of existing animal welfare laws, the situation at livestock markets in Tanzania is critical. Cattle, sheep, goats and other farm animals suffer greatly from unsafe means of transportation, abuse from handlers and neglect of their basic needs, such as feed, water and shelter from the sun. In cooperation with the local Tanzania Animal Welfare Society (TAWESO) we aim to improve animal welfare standards at livestock markets in Central Tanzania.
The animals intended for sale already suffer before they even arrive at the market. The vehicles used for transport often lack secure footholds or adequate bedding to prevent them from slipping and falling. Injuries that happen on the road are therefore common and can be quite severe. Once they get to the market, the cattle – weighing several hundred kilos – are forced to jump off the trucks without the help of appropriate loading chutes or ramps. Workers often beat them with sticks or drag them off the vehicles with little concern for the high risk of injury.
Sheep and goats are tied at the legs or bound to each other with short ropes. They are therefore forced to remain in the same position for up to ten hours. Without feed, water or shelter from the blazing sun, they are severely dehydrated, overheated and weakened.
Stronger focus on animal welfare
Together with the local Tanzania Animal Welfare Society (TAWESO) we aim to put a stronger focus on animal welfare to reduce the daily suffering of cattle, sheep, goats and chicken at livestock markets in Central Tanzania.
For this purpose, we have come up with a plan that directly addresses the people responsible, i.e. the public authorities, inspectors, veterinarians and merchants. In a first step, members of TAWESO talk to the men and women in charge at twenty local markets. Together they discuss what could be done to solve the existing problems and shortcomings. This includes, for example, that merchants should prohibit their workers from beating the animals, and that there needs to be stricter supervision to ensure that animals are properly anesthetized before slaughter, as already set out in the Animal Welfare Act of 2008.
TAWESO works closely with market staff and stakeholders to determine the best practices to address these and other animal welfare issues.
Fostering understanding and respect
In addition to practical measures, such as the construction of wells and feeding places, it’s important to ensure that existing laws and regulations are observed and that non-compliance is accordingly punished. Our main goal, however, is to foster a deeper understanding and a greater respect for animals – not as goods to be bought and sold for a profit, but as intelligent living beings with their own needs and rights.
With the help of diverse info material, such as flyers and posters, but also by approaching people directly, we hope to effect a fundamental change in the perception of farm animals as living beings who, like humans, feel pain and suffer and deserve to be treated with care and respect. In the long run, we aim to expand the project nationwide so that animals all over the country may benefit from it. We are certain that, once an increasing number of farmers, merchants and workers come together and understand the importance and benefits of animal welfare, the situation of thousands of farm animals can be significantly improved.