2015 World Animal Day Grant Report - Tanzania

The World Animal Day grant 2015 was awarded to the Tanzania Animal Welfare Society (TAWESO)

In summary, the World Animal Day grant, sponsored by Naturewatch Foundation, funded a project in the Mpwapwa district in the central part of Tanzania.  Its aim was to improve the health and welfare of working donkeys and bring about permanent change for roaming animals, allowing people and animals to live in harmony.  Veterinary care was provided to donkeys, dogs and cats in respect to vaccination against rabies, sterilisation of dogs and cats, de-worming, wound treatment and all presenting diseases.  

Why the project was needed

In Mpwapwa, a poor rural area with a population of more than 305,000 people, donkeys are essential to the livelihood and wellbeing of the people, yet they are forced to work under unacceptably difficult conditions with no consideration for their health or welfare.  It is dry for most of the year and donkeys are essential for maintaining a supply of water and charcoal to households, and they are also used in farming to carry crops, and sand and gravel for the construction industry. 

Donkeys are overworked, beaten and overloaded without the use of a proper harness, resulting in deep wounds that become infected.  They are deprived of veterinary care and, unfortunately, they also fall victim to rabies, which is rampant within the district. Donkeys with rabies are nearly always culled but, in some cases, if the donkeys have become aggressive they are abandoned and left to suffer until paralysis sets in, resulting in death about a week later. 

Mpwapwa is also home to approximately 6,000 roaming dogs and 2,000 roaming cats which are treated appallingly and killed due to fear of rabies.  Both animals and people suffer, with the children who walk many kilometres to and from schools being the most affected as they come into contact with many roaming animals.  District policy on stray dog control, and dogs that are owned but roaming, dictates that whenever there’s a report of a dog bite or rabies outbreak, all the roaming dogs in the immediate area are shot by municipal officers.  As no action was being taken to eliminate rabies in the roaming dog/cat population, the people and authorities have been using a variety of barbaric methods to kill them to try and prevent the disease spreading.  In addition, dogs which are terminally ill are brutally killed as they are considered to be a nuisance to the community.

Click here to read the full report and view images on the Naturewatch Foundation website. The report includes the project objectives; what the project achieved, a series of questions presented to Dr Thomas Kahema, Vet and Executive Director of TAWESO, and his answers, a wonderful selection of photographs.

- March 10, 2016