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Animal Welfare 2024-25’s Budget Measures Fall Short



Animal Welfare 2024-25's Budget Measures Fall Short

A set of measures aimed at improving animal welfare was unveiled during the presentation of the 2024-25 budget. The measures are focused on three key areas: the purchase of two mobile veterinary clinics by the Mauritius Society for Animal Welfare (MSAW), the construction of a dog shelter in Plaine Magnien, an incentive of Rs 200 for individuals to sterilize and tag their animals with MSAW or approved NGOs, and the registration of puppies and dogs with MSAW before sale.

However, activists and NGOs have expressed disappointment and frustration with the measures, citing several shortcomings and a lack of resources to address the various needs of animals.

“We were expecting a reduction in pet food and medicine prices,” said Usha Oodit Bawani of Pink Pony Charity Trust.

“We don’t receive subsidies and rely on donations to feed our stray animals. Moreover, the purchasing power has decreased, and we receive fewer donations, both in food and medicine.”

Oodit Bawani added that there is no significant measure to improve animal welfare in Mauritius.

“There is already an MSAW shelter at Plaine Magnien. Why do we need another one? Will these dogs spend their entire lives there?” she questioned.

Linley Moothien, president of 4 Tilapat, criticized the budgetary measures as “just words, with nothing concrete in sight.”

He stated that projects will only be achievable if the current government is re-elected. “Why is there an open tender for a mobile veterinary clinic just months before the elections?” he asked.

Regarding the Rs 200 voucher for sterilization, Moothien said it is incomplete, considering all the expenses involved in a sterilization procedure (transportation, follow-up care, and medical care).

Reda Chamroo, an activist, described the measures as “ridiculous,” highlighting the incompetence and amateurism of MSAW.

“They haven’t consulted NGOs to develop effective measures. They have had a year to think about it. Today, they propose two caravans and Rs 200 for individuals to capture stray dogs for sterilization. This shows there is no willingness from their part.”

Petra Gisske of Petra Animal Foundation Mauritius called for a new institution to be set up, stating that the MSAW has been ineffective in promoting animal welfare for over a decade.

“The situation has become more alarming with a stray dog population of over 300,000. MSAW has only sterilized around 1 percent since two years ago. How will they resolve the problem at this rate?”

Gisske also lamented that some laws have been amended but not enforced, allowing animal cruelty to continue unpunished.

Source: Le Mauricien

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