Author(s): Masiga WN, Munyua SJ
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Abstract Livestock production systems, production objectives, the cultural values of livestock keepers, and the close relationship between keepers and their livestock have evolved over the years and have influenced the quality of animal welfare in Africa. An equivalent level and quality of care is not evident for companion animals, especially dogs and donkeys, who are often mistreated and physically abused. In the densely populated highland and humid coastal belts of Africa, profit-driven commercial large-scale intensive livestock production systems predominate. As the main production objective of these operations is to maximise profit, the operators of these production systems do not exhibit the same kind of attachment to their livestock as traditional farmers. In some large-scale commercial systems animals and birds are kept in sub-standard poorly constructed structures that greatly restrict the animals' movements. In Africa, conservation of wildlife habitats is part of animal welfare, but due to an increasing human population and a greater demand for land for grazing, cultivation, and housing, wildlife reserves are quickly diminishing. This essentially means that the land that was previously set aside for wildlife and forests is being encroached upon and previously unsettled plains and marginal lands are being used for agriculture and mining. In most places there is significant conflict between humans and wildlife, such that wildlife are considered to be pests that need to be destroyed. This is a particular problem in areas where wildlife have destroyed crops, attacked man and/or livestock, or there has been disease transmission between animals and humans. In situations and/or areas that do not have official animal control services, crude weapons, poisons, and traps are used to kill the wildlife. Animal welfare issues, domestic and wildlife related, need to be urgently addressed through policy and legal frameworks and supported by community awareness of, education about, and participation in, animal welfare issues.
This article was published in Rev Sci Tech
and referenced in Journal of Veterinary Science & Technology