Consolidated Responses for the PAFPNet Discussion for the month of February 2015

Date: 05/02/2015 – 23/02/2015

Animal Welfare

The PAFPNet topic for the month of February, “Animal Welfare” emphasized four questions that triggered a constructive discussion among the network members. From the discussion feedback, Animal Welfare had been highlighted as an area lacking perception and full awareness. Hindrances, benefits and promotional ideas were examined regarding the notion of implementing animal welfare practices. This discussion topic provided a clear platform of actions that must be taken in order to achieve effective enforcement of animal welfare in the region.

The core deterrent factor of animal welfare development was identified as the lack of or limited knowledge of humans regarding animal well-being. On the same note, members highlighted that in order for there to be a positive, effective change in animal welfare practices and engagement, the attitude among the Pacific Islanders must change towards both companion and livestock animals. Moreover, other contributing factors were mentioned as key limitations to animal welfare development in the PICTs. The lack of priority given to the well-being of animals stems from the lack of awareness and education on understanding the animals’ physical characteristics and certain behaviour patterns. In addition, cultural issues were also underlined in the forum as a barrier to animal welfare progress and development. Some cultural beliefs in the PICs, according to the members, prove to be unsympathetic to animal upkeep, which brings us back to the lack of education among this population.

However, on a more positive note, participants in the discussion provided key benefits of practicing Animal Welfare. Some of these benefits included increased productivity as a result of proper treatment towards livestock animals. Healthy animals are proven to be more productive than stressed animals in livestock husbandry practices. Additionally, stemming from having more productive livestock animals, there is a high likelihood of an increase in income and animal performance which counts as a plus factor for humans. In reference to companion animals, they provide security as well as provide companionship for their owners. Dogs in particular provide a much cheaper means for hunting in the PICs and protection.

Human comfort is always given priority when referring to the output of animals. In observing animal welfare guidelines, the effectiveness of animal production can reach its peak taking into consideration its providence towards organic fertilisers from their manure, ploughing agricultural land and their bi-products, that is, feathers for artefacts and teeth for decorations. Moreover, an additional advantage in practicing animal through providing suitable housing and adherence to animals’ natural behavioural instincts can drastically minimize zoonosis. According to one respondent, there should and must be a balance drawn between animals and human beings to be able to maintain a healthy complementary relationship.

On another note, many results were discovered for potential animal welfare promotion in the region during the discussion. Many members reached the common grounds on agreeing that providing simple general awareness would be significant in educating PICs on the importance of animal welfare practices. Respondents had listed strategic methods on promoting animal welfare. The utilization of social media, for instance, Facebook, Twitter and text messaging, was a suggested platform to be used for news updates and key learning tips for animal welfare practices. Also, the implementation of animal welfare practices into school curriculum/activities was featured an important step to increasing knowledge capacity on animal well-being. Moreover, proper Paravet training was listed crucial to achieving the efficient practical know-how of proper animal welfare procedures.

Finally, all members on the forum agreed that animal welfare legislations does indeed have a place in PICTs, however only after carrying out effective awareness. Also, in implementing this legislation, it must coincide with the current environment to cater to existing traditional values and obligations. Lastly, initiating a legislation with the ability to be enforced is important as a basis and framework for PICTs.