GHP December

34 | ghp December 2016 Animal & Health Sierra Leone Animal Welfare Society ims and Objectives • To reduce the incidence of dog bite and human deaths from rabies; • To encourage responsible pet ownership; • To vaccinate all owned pets and treat the for ticks, fleas and worms; • To register all pets and provide a means of identification; • To carry out education programmes on livestock welfare; • To teach owners how to take care for their pets. The fundamental principle of SLAWS approach to animal welfare is that all forms of cruelty and suffering of animals are alleviated. This principle of non-cruelty is underpinned by the Society’s wish to ensure that the needs of the animals that they care for are fully met. These needs are: • A suitable environment and care • Being able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns, • Be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease. Going beyond our statutory responsibilities, the society has developed a further set of values that are aspired to and maintained with rigour. The challenge that SLAWS regularly faces is ensuring that these objectives are fulfilled, which is a consistent feature of the work that they do, both in terms of caring for the animals, and in their relationships with the public that benefit from our work, whilst also ensuring that they are provided with the resources needed to fulfil their mission. Rabies is listed among the priority diseases globally, and Sierra Leone has been selected to pilot the global rabies elimination for West Africa 2015- 2020. SLAWS is a major part of the stakeholders’ institution that is charged with implementing the national rabies elimination strategy for Sierra Leone (2015-2020). There are, however, a number of complications that could limit the ability of SLAWS to perform their work. Namely, inadequate funding, a lack of research in the area, and a continuous push to raise public perception of animal welfare are chief concerns for the company. In addition, the socio-economic status of the country compromises the ability to provide for animals by most pet owners – this results in most them having to fend for themselves, hence the higher number of stray dogs. Furthermore, the lack of effective legislation and a certain imbalance in the flow of information contribute towards a challenging set of circumstances in which SLAWS might feel like they are fighting an uphill battle. However, they can still benefit from the knowledge that there will always be those willing to make a difference to the welfare of animals in Sierra Leone. By advertising vacant positions within the company through print media, a robust selection of qualified applicants, and a conduct test for those selected applicants followed by interviews to assess their interpersonal skills and passion for animals, demonstrate that SLAWS refuse to compromise on providing the very best care for animals. On top of this, all staff are vaccinated against human strains of rabies, while regular in-service training on vaccination protocols, humane care and handling procedures provide employees with the best skills and knowledge that can be provided. SLAWS are also certainly benefitting from a growing global interest in the welfare of animals and rabies control, and they hope to make their mark by colluding with international organisations to do their part in minimising and eliminating the spread of a The Sierra Leone Animal Welfare Society (SLAWS) is a non-profit organization based in Freetown, Sierra Leone. It was founded by Dr Abdul Gudush Jalloh in March 1988, and is registered with the Sierra Leone Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED). SLAWS is dedicated to the humane care of all animals, and acts as an advocacy for their welfare throughout Sierra Leone and Africa. So far, the small team at SLAWS has vaccinated over 50,000 dogs against rabies and sterilised over 45,000. A Best Animal Welfare Advocacy 2016 - West Africa