The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) celebrated the World Animal Day in partnership with Brook Ethiopia, ELNet Foundation and the Ethiopia Veterinary Association on 9 October 2021.
Activities to mark the day were held in Addis Ababa, under the theme ‘Forests and livelihood: sustaining people, Animal, and the planet’.
The event was organized to:
- Promote the status of the animals and help in the improvement of their welfare standards in Ethiopia through advocating the contribution of animal to human well-being.
- Influence and engage policymakers in influencing the provision of better health and welfare through a talk in the panel discussion.
- Establish a dialog to advocate the link between agroforestry, animal and human welfare.
In his opening remarks, Alemayehu Mekonin, advisor to the State Minister for Livestock Resource Development, emphasized the many benefits and livelihood support communities obtain from animal resources. He further noted that Ethiopia has a large potential to utilize the animal resources to support national economy through exporting of animals and their products. . ‘To improve animal welfare and handling practices,’ he said, ‘the country must meet international standards by modernizing the livestock sector and the entire livestock value chain including areas such as transportation and handling of animals.
Panel discussions, documentary video presentations and a visit to Addis Zoo Park were among the activities organized to celebrate the event. The panelists, who included Dr. Gezahegn Alemayehu, from ILRI, Dr. Alemayehu Mekonin from MoA and Dr. Yohannes from CEVA Cante Animale privet company discussed among other issues:
- the current trends and standards in animal health and welfare in Ethiopia,
- the three-ways benefits agroforestry-livestock / silvopastorialism in Ethiopia for animal welfare, livelihoods and the environment, and
- the contribution of the private sector to animal welfare and livestock development in the country.
The panel discussion helped participants gain a mutual understanding on the following areas:
- Animals are sentient beings and their welfare is a necessity, not a luxury. Therefore, animal welfare should be provided at any cost.
- The existing animal welfare status in the country should be assessed and documented to guide future interventions.
- The role of different stakeholders working on animal welfare in the country should be clearly identified.
- Integrated work on animal welfare must done by the government, private sector and development actors to meet international standard and requirements.
- Higher education institutions must work towards including animal welfare training in their curricula.
- Research is needed in this area, and research findings shared widely to influence policy and behaviour.
Fifty participants including government officials, veterinarians, animal health experts, and wildlife experts from the federal and regional level, non-governmental organizations representatives and journalists attended the event.