We attended the meeting for discussing the Draft Animal Welfare Policy proposed by the Cape Town Local Government and these were the comments from some of the speakers and audience:
- The reason for the meeting is to get clarity between authorities and government of who is responsible for animal welfare and care.
- To promote welfare of animals.
- Cat and dog owners are obliged to register their pets.
- To promote the 5 Freedoms.
- The next step will be to implement this policy, but the local government would first like input from the public to comment on the policy.
- Jenni Trethowan of Baboon Matters presented with the aim to get the policy to change from being Animal Welfare for all animals under human care. The baboons of the Cape are being cared for with a budget and should be part of this consideration. She called for the government to follow the example of Birgitta Wahlberg of Finland who has successfully given all Non Human Animals a legal status. More of her comments consisted of: Animals have least amount of protection, even less than water - If there is a problem with water, it gets resolved.
- Mr Allan Perrins, CEO of Cape of Good Hope SPCA also presented to the audience. He is encouraged by this new policy initiative and would like the following, amongst other points, to be considered: a) A change is needed from 'domestic' to 'domesticated' animals. b) He hopes this policy will help towards changing cruel animal practices. c) The current challenges that they need to deal with are overpopulation, old codes of practice, funding and animals should not be defined as property.
- Other members of the audience made the following comments: a) This policy should seriously include the welfare of Guard Dogs, as they are currently under no protection and are being kept under the worst conditions. b) All animals should be included, eg live stock, wildlife & domestic animals; c) Animal Sentience must be considered; d) Forced sterilisation of companion animals; e) Lower veterinarian costs; f) Animals in research laboratories have no regulation other than by the laboratories themselves who have complete free rein; g) The police force need to be trained to be more compassionate when animals are involved in situations where their assistance / involvement is requested.
- There was a team who service the Blikkiesdorp community and they wanted to know how can they also as a welfare be given an allocation of this proposed budgeting from the government: Allan Perrins commented by saying that all they need to do is join the Cape Animal Welfare Forum. By doing so this will mean the Welfare will be requested to participate in a Pet Population Census and the Surgical phase of the operation. Currently they are given a budget of R250 per sterilisation, which barely covers the cost of 1 animal, but there are veterinarians that do provide their services at this rate to the welfare industry.
- It was also mentioned that it is now a 1 year Compulsory Community Service for all newly qualified veterinarians.
- Laws without morels are in vain.
- An appeal was made that things do not take so long to get this ball rolling.
Input from Dr. Annelize Roos
www.PetHealthCare.co.za did not attend the second session at 17h30, so the discussions which took place there are not part of this feedback. For such an important matter, it was rather disappointing to see such a small turnout by those who will mostly benefit from this initiative. Its understandable that the welfares and shelters have their hands full, but this brings me back to the basics of business and that is to understand the difference between Urgent and Important. Once this is understood the running of any organisation can be so much more efficient. Come on Welfares and Shelters, lets have you present and more active at these "important" meetings. We love the work you do and we value it, which is why we are here trying to make your voice heard.
Till next time!