Dogs and their owners in Sierra Leone

Our first animal welfare conference with African Union held in Nairobi last week


Our World Animal Protection Africa office, the Africa Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), and other partners invited chief veterinary officers from across Africa to discuss improving and promoting animal welfare in Africa.

Running from 30th November to 1st December, the Nairobi conference was the first of its kind in Africa. The theme of the conference was ‘Mainstreaming animal welfare in Africa’, and its purpose was to encourage member states to agree to take steps to enhance animal welfare in the region and put animal welfare on the development agenda. The event marks an important step towards reducing animal suffering in Africa.

The benefits of animal welfare to animals and their owners were demonstrated, as well as examples of animal welfare practice from delegates’ countries.

Our Africa office played a key role in organising the conference. Beryl Mutonono-Watkiss, our International Campaigns Director, gave the keynote speech on behalf of World Animal Protection’s chief executive officer, and Tennyson Williams, our Regional Director for Africa, presented World Animal Protection’s Africa and global mission.

Farm animals and dogs

The conference showed how animal welfare can be beneficial for communities in Africa, in particular the welfare of dogs and farm animals. We showed how better lives for dogs and improvements in farm animal welfare can promote sustainable development and help create resilient societies. These two goals are shared by the African Union and also appear in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Dogs are important parts of communities all around the world and both dogs and people benefit from humane dog population control and effective rabies prevention. Farm animals, farmers and their communities all benefit from improved conditions for animals in production. Together with the African Union we will work towards ensuring that the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) animal welfare standards are met across the continent.

Pioneering African animal welfare policies

We have been in the forefront of pushing the African Union to put animal welfare policies in place. This includes the development of the African Platform for Animal Welfare (APAW), which will act as a mechanism for coordinating all animal welfare initiatives on the continent and will also intensify support for the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW). The APAW has taken a significant step forwards towards launching as a result of this conference.

The African Union’s vision on animal welfare is clear, so we are very pleased to have partnered with them for such an important event in African animal welfare. We are excited about a future of working together with the Union and other partners in order to better protect animals across Africa.

Find out more about our work with dogs and farm animals around the world.

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