The Uganda Veterinary Association (UVA) has called upon government to review the standards and laws in the livestock sector to guide actors in animal business.
“We need to have proper laws in place to ensure animal welfare, clinic because if animals are not protected; farmers won’t be able to meet their production objectives,” said Dr. Sylivia Baluka, the UVA president.
Baluka made the call while speaking at the Animal Welfare meeting held on Wednesday June 4 at Esella Country Club, Najeera in Kampala.
Attended mainly by poultry farmers, the conference was organised by Uganda Veterinary Association in partnership with World Animal Protection (WAP), an international animal welfare and protection organisation.
Baluka noted that contemporary rules and regulations are obsolete, thus they can’t serve their purpose of preserving animal welfare.
“At the moment, when say, a trader is caught transporting cattle for slaughter to the abattoir in a way that breaks that law, the only penalty they can get is a fine of Shs200.”
According to Baluka, animal welfare entails meeting animal needs, and this involves input of all stake holders – farmers, veterinarians, traders, consumers and people who slaughter the animals.
“Understanding animal behavior is crucial since some farmers end up misusing veterinary drugs to treat animals, yet they only require correction of their environment,” she revealed.
Animal welfare, Baluka says, requires that animals have the five freedoms that is freedom from pain, stress, hunger; thirst and injury for them to enable a farmer meet their production targets.
The meeting having been intended to address poultry farmers, the stakeholders in the poultry industry have been urged to be mindful of the welfare of chickens beyond rearing and feeding them.
Dr. Victor Yamo, Human and Sustainable Agricultural Campaign manager WAP told farmers to review their production systems to ensure that chickens are facilitated especially broilers for a better life.
“Today our chickens suffer in miniature cages, poor disease control, management and poor growth rate. The growth should be slowed down for them to grow healthy,” he said.
He asserted that on average the normal growth of chicken should not exceed 50 grams growth per day.
Chicken consumers were also reminded to be observant by always asking about the quality of feeding, housing and disease management.