VETS UNITED in Liberia
Healthy animals through improved teaching
Situation of Animal Welfare and Animal Welfare Education in Liberia
With regards to veterinary care, Liberia is strongly undersupplied. There are only a few local veterinarians and VPPs. A veterinary degree at university is currently not offered in Liberia, but there are some veterinary-related courses for future VPPs. In opposite to the extremely low number of vets and VPPs there is a high number of farm animals. The training of VPPs does not include animal welfare yet, on the contrary, the bad quality of education holds students back from studying the courses. As in many other African countries, keeping livestock is part of many households and peasant farms which dominate the agricultural sector. Typical animal welfare issues are, for instance, insufficient wound care and lacking vaccinations.
Facts and Figures
Focus: Animal Welfare in Academic Education
Project Manager: Morris Darbo
Start of the programme: 2019
Partner: Cuttington University Gbarnga, Lofa Community College Voinjama, Liberia Animal Welfare & Conservation Society (LAWCS)
Target groups: students and teachers at Animal Science Faculty of Cuttington University, students and teachers at Animal Science Faculty of Lofa Community College
Course: lectures and practical exercises on animal Welfare based on the WTS VETS UNITED Animal Welfare Training Guide
Conditions in the country: 1.6 Million farm animals, especially chickens and goats; 4 foreign vets, approx. 15 practicing VPPs; no local vets; no academic education for veterinarians
Development of the project
Since March 2019, the VETS UNITED programme has been implemented by our local partner LAWCS at two educational institutions in the country. Since then, students and teachers of animal science have been trained on animal welfare. A VPP from The Gambia, who specialised in animal welfare and graduated from the programme there, taught theoretical and applied animal welfare to the future Liberian VPPs until 2022. During the Corona pandemic teaching was conducted online.
To ensure that animal welfare will be taught after the end of the programme, 14 lecturers from both institutions were also trained and will continue to teach the course independently using the VETS UNITED training materials.
In order to integrate animal welfare into the institutions long-term, the curriculum at both institutions had been reviewed, including a survey of veterinary practitioners. Accreditation of the new curriculum, which now includes animal welfare, is planned at both institutions by the end of 2022.
The primary goal is to significantly improve the quality of the curriculum and thus motivate more students to study, so that more and better trained professionals can provide the currently very limited care of animals in the long term.
In February 2022, the second group of students had already successfully completed the programme.
Since 2020, 12 committed Liberian students from Lofa County Community College have received a scholarship from Welttierschutzstiftung. The scholarship holders must obtain or improve their grades while performing animal welfare related volunteer work alongside their studies. Since 2021, the scholarship has also been offered to 4 students from Cuttington University.