I have to share what just came in to Village Volunteers, the international humanitarian aid organization I work for. We don’t often get to work in animal welfare so this news is an extra special treat!
As we celebrate World Animal Day today, Africa Network for Animal Welfare together with Animal Welfare Action Kenya partners participated in a 7km walk in Nairobi. The walk attracted over 500 participants.
Africa Network for Animal Welfare
Poaching Crisis as Kenyans Walk in Solidarity with Animals
As we in Kenya join the community of nations in celebrating this year’s World Animals Day, I call upon everyone to reflect on the twin problems of poaching of wild animals and cruelty to domestic animals.
And as the world animal day’s welfare awareness and sensitization walk comes to a close, allow me to note that though animals are part and parcel of the global web of life and they contribute immensely to enriching human life, a lot of us have not fully appreciated this.
Consequently, poaching, and particularly that of elephants and the few remaining rhinos for their trophies, has become a crisis. In addition, cruelty to domestic animals still goes on unabated.
That wild animals face imminent threat of extinction was underscored by the fact that in July, His Excellency President Mwai Kibaki burnt a mound of 5 tons of Ivory tusks, which had been confiscated in Singapore.
In addition, reports attributed to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) show that last year alone, a total of 187 elephants were killed by poachers in both protected and non-protected areas.
In addition, 21 rhinos were killed while 2,894.48 kilos of ivory were recovered leading to the arrest of 332 poachers.
As far as poaching for bush meat is concerned, as much as 78,155 kilos of bush meat were recovered from poachers.
This very worrisome trend has been going on following the partial lifting of the ban on ivory trade by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species almost two years ago.
It also appears that poaching is fueled by a demand for ivory and rhino horns in the Far East. Indeed, there is evidence that the demand for ivory in China has increased tremendously after the price of a kilo increased by more than 100 % over the last couple of years.
But as all this goes on, we in Kenya are yet to come up with a single piece of legislation that would guarantee the survival of wild animals, as well as their habitats, into perpetuity.
I wish to also bring to your attention the fact that cruelty to domestic animals continues unabated. I call upon people from all walks of life to give a hand in preventing unnecessary suffering to all animals. I have in mind;
c) Animals used in research and education,
d) As well as those used in entertainment.
Indeed, the challenges facing animal welfare in Kenya and elsewhere in Africa are enormous. And I urge people not to shy away from this grim reality but to take individual responsibility in order to improve the situation. In this regard, we at ANAW together with our AWAKE partners, call upon the government to facilitate the enactment of an animal welfare policy and for the review of the Prevention Against Cruelty to Animals Act (cap 360).
In addition, the Africa Network for Animal Welfare is concerned that disagreements still linger over the shape that a bill to review the Wildlife Management & Conservation Act ought to take.
We are for the incorporation of a community compensation fund so that people living with animals can support wildlife conservation. We acknowledge the University of Nairobi for conducting a nationwide survey that shows that tourist and Kenyans alike support the incorporation and operationalization of a wildlife compensation fund in the Bill.
Further, a research commissioned in 2007 by Kenya Coalition for Wildlife Conservation and Management and sponsored by ActionAid Kenya demonstrated that communities are not opposed to living with wildlife as long as they are adequately compensated for loss of life or destruction of livelihoods.
In closing, I wish to ask all Kenyans, and the world at large, to work for a change of attitude so that we can all appreciate the role animals play in enriching human life. Let us use this day to celebrate people of all walks of life who care about animals.
I express my deep gratitude to the Animal Welfare Action Kenya (AWAKE) and all its members among them the Kenya Wildlife Service, the Kenya Society for the Protection and Care of Animals, KENDAT, University of Nairobi, the Kenya Veterinary Association and the Kenya Veterinary Board for partnership.
We are also very grateful to the Wildlife Clubs of Kenya, Kenyatta University Students, Nairobi University’s Chiromo, Kikuyu and Kabete Campuses, scouts from Lang’ata Primary School, community representatives from Kibera and Dagoretti, the Maji Mazuri Group and everyone else who has participated in this Walk physically or virtually.
Lastly, we also appreciate the support given by Uhuru Gardens, the OCPD’s of Nairobi City and Langata areas, the Nairobi City Council, the St John’s Ambulance, the Department of Veterinary Services and the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife.
To everyone, I say
WE OWE IT TO OURSELVES TO TREAT ANIMALS WITH CARE AND KINDNESS
Africa Network for Animal Welfare