I attended a workshop for Chief Magistrates, Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Inspector General of Police, Director of Criminal Investigations, Director of Kenya Veterinary Board and the Media, at Nairobi Serena Hotel, from 9.00am to 1.00pm.
The aim of the workshop was to create a clear understanding of the link between Animal welfare and Human welfare among the Animal Welfare Law Welfare Agencies (AWLEs)
Unawareness in the Judiciary
Unawareness about the outcome of poor Animal Welfare is widespread among the Judicial Officers. Lack of awareness of the value of animal welfare also makes them lenient to animal offenders, which leads to the latter being given very light penalties.
Justification for animal welfare
Taking care of animal welfare equals to taking care of our interests. Animal welfare is an investment and the return of it is good human welfare,hence the need to sensitize the members of the Judiciary to consider any animal offence with a lot of sobriety.
Animal welfare is also a critical determinant of the welfare of society in terms of wealth creation, sustainance of livelihoods and provision of sufficient food.
Risks in Animal welfare
The members of the judiciary however admitted to animal welfare facing various risks that include;
- Ignorance about animal welfare in and out of the judiciary
- Lack of coordination between the veterinary board and the prosecutors. The members of the vet board do not report cases of animal offenders to the prosecutors for trial.
- Weakness in the judicial systems. The magistrates are too lenient on the offenders or lack value for animal welfare due to lack of awareness.
- Centralization of the veterinary board. They suggested that the board opens regional offices in different counties.
- Non – commitment of the national government towards animal welfare. Citizens easily buy in an idea that has already been embraced by the national government.
Strengths to mitigate the risks?
The attendees agreed to have had an educative and interesting session on animal welfare. Some even confessed to hearing about animal welfare for the first time and this prompted them to come up with suggestions to strengthen advocacy of proper animal welfare.
The Judicial members encouraged animal welfare organisations to ride on their Court Users Committee (CUC) meetings that they hold quarterly, so as to educate other members of the judiciary and encourage cooperation without confrontation. It is also necessary to approach them so as to get an avenue for sensitization.
Moreover, the office of the Inspector General of Police also added that they have constant trainings and seminars at county levels, that would also be a golden opportunity to educate the police.