Animal welfare is at the heart of any good farming business. Our responsibility for the wellbeing of stock starts at birth and continues, not only while they are in our care, but also beyond the farm gate.
As farmers we must make sure that all animals are treated with care and respect, in a healthy and safe environment.
Insisting on the highest standards of animal husbandry and welfare on our farms is good for
- our animals,
- us, our farms and farm teams,
- our industry and for Kenya
At DairyPesa we take animal welfare seriously and work with farmers and industry partners to raise awareness of our duty of care. We work to understand consumer and market expectations in animal welfare, provide training to build skills and develop resources to support the best standards of care.
The Animal Protection Index, which ranks 50 countries across the world on their animal welfare standards, places Kenya in twenty first place.
Animal Welfare Act
The Animal Welfare Act establishes welfare obligations on every person who owns or is in charge of animals.
How does the Animal Welfare Act affect me?
Sections of the Animal Welfare Act set out the principal obligations and offences relating to the keeping of animals in Kenya.
- Meeting the physical, health and behavioural needs of animals.
- Ensuring sick/injured animals are treated to relieve pain/suffering, or are humanely killed instead.
- Not keeping animals alive in unnecessary pain/distress.
- Not selling an animal in pain/distress unless it is to be killed.
- Not deserting an animal without providing for its needs.
- Not ill-treating an animal or killing it in such a way that it feels unnecessary pain/distress.
What are the 5 Freedoms?
The Five Freedoms were developed in the Kenya in 1985 and form the cornerstone of modern animal welfare. They are recognised internationally as representing the fundamental requirements of all animals.
The Five Freedoms are:
- Freedom from Hunger and Thirst – by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour.
- Freedom from Discomfort – by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
- Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease – by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
- Freedom to Express Normal Behaviour – by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind.
- Freedom from Fear and Distress – by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoids mental suffering.
(From the Brambell Report, 1965.)
There are three codes of welfare that outline the industry agreed standards of animal care and good stockmanship practices.
They are the Dairy Cattle, the Painful Husbandry Procedures and the Transport of Livestock within Kenyan Codes of Welfare.
What are Codes of Welfare?
Codes of Welfare are official documents which give the detail surrounding animal welfare requirements for different species of animal. They are industry-agreed standards under the Animal Welfare Act.
It is important that farmers know about Codes of Welfare because they set out the ‘Minimum Standards’ required to meet the welfare requirements of different animals. Failure to meet a Minimum Standard can lead to prosecution, so knowing about Codes of Welfare can help protect farmers from breaking the law.
What is a Minimum Standard?
A minimum standard is a statement which sets out what is required to meet the most basic welfare needs of an animal. Codes of Welfare contain a number of minimum standards, each one relating to a different set of requirements, e.g. ‘food & water’, ‘shade& shelter’, ‘animal handling’, etc. Because minimum standards have to be met in order to ensure basic animal welfare, they are identified in Codes of Welfare by the word ‘must’.
What does a Minimum Standard look like?
The following is an example of a Minimum Standard taken from the ‘Zoo Code’:
“Enclosures, barriers, facilities and equipment must be maintained in a condition that minimises harm or injury to animals and if likely to cause injury or harm must be repaired or replaced, or the animal relocated immediately.”
What is a Recommended Best Practice?
A recommended best practice is a guideline which offers suggestions on how animal welfare can be improved over and above the relevant minimum standard. Recommended best practices are not legally enforced, so are identified in Codes of Welfare by the word ‘should’.
What does a Recommended Best Practice look like?
Who writes the Codes of Welfare?
Although most Codes of Welfare to date have been written by industry or special interest groups, anyone may write a Code of Welfare. However, before a Code of Welfare can be issued by the Minister of Agriculture, it must be reviewed and approved by the Director of veterinary services. The review period includes a period of public consultation, which allows anyone in Kenya to have their say on the proposed content of the Code of Welfare in question.
Tell me more about the public consultation process.
Public consultation is a key part of the Code of Welfare development process. Public consultation periods are notified in the major newspapers and on the Ministry of Agriculture website. A six week period is usually allowed for public consultation and farmers should strongly consider submitting their views to Ministry of Agriculture which affect them.