Animal welfare in development cooperation

Livestock in small rural structures as backbone of the society

© Worldwide Veterinary Services (WVS)

Worldwide there are about 570 Million farms – 84 per cent are run by small-scale farmers.1 Keeping livestock in small scale farming is essential for many people in emerging and developing countries. Donkeys and horses are used as pack animals to carry water from the well or to transport goods to markets. Goats and cattle provide milk and fertiliser to grow vegetables. As an example in the Southeast-African country of Malawi there are 50 Million farm animals that are kept primarily for self-sufficiency. But how is life for the farm animals in countries, where even the people rarely have enough to survive? Do the development actors acknowledge the important contribution of livestock towards sustainable development? Do they adequately consider animal welfare in development cooperation?

WTS wants to increase German development actors‘ awareness of the issue of animal welfare of livestock in small-scale farming. Besides well-balanced and sufficient feeding and other factors it is important, for example, to have protective shelter against adverse weather conditions, to have veterinary care, as well as necessary expertise of the owners about animal handling to prevent unnecessary animal suffering.

By doing so, various animal protection measures can lead to more animal welfare and assist in implementing the internationally recognised 5 Freedoms. Those are: Freedom from hunger, thirst and malnutrition, freedom from uneasiness, freedom from pain, injury and disease, freedom from fear and suffering and freedom to express normal patterns of behaviour.

Animal Welfare contributes to fight against poverty

The consideration of animal welfare relevant activities can also have positive effects on small-scale farmers: They can continue to use the healthy animals as planned. Beside the economic aspects, there is also a health aspect by reducing the risk of disease transmission from animal to human – for example, diseases like salmonellosis or brucellosis.

For cooperation in sustainable development, it is an important step to increase awareness for the need of animal-friendly handling of livestock worldwide. Animal Welfare is also a fight against poverty and therefore it is also development work.

© Action for Protection of Wild Animals (APOWA)

With the programme „Animal Welfare in development cooperation“ WTS wants to increase the awareness of German development actors of the issue of animal welfare, in particular of livestock of small scale farmers.

Our work at a glance

  • We want to highlight the current state of animal welfare in development cooperation and to get in contact with relevant parties.
  • We want to create an active exchange which contributes to more sustainable development cooperation by specifically taking animal welfare of livestock into account.
  • We want to identify good practice examples and different solutions which can be used as practical guidelines for increased animal welfare in agricultural projects of development cooperation.

For more information on the programme please visit the following pages:

WTS Online Seminars

1 Source: FAO 2016: The Number, Size, and Distribution of Farms, Smallholder Farms,and Family Farms Worldwide.

For more information, please contact:

Karin Siegmund
Director Welttierschutzstiftung

Tel.: +49(0)30 – 9237226-0
Reinhardtstr. 10
10117 Berlin