BAF, Animals Fiji sign MOU to enhance veterinary services, animal welfare
The Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF) yesterday formed a partnership with NGO, Animals Fiji. Through a memorandum of understanding (MOU), it will allow both parties to improve veterinary services and animal disease reporting. The major area of collaboration is focused on household pets and enhancing the animal welfare in the Fiji. Commending the voluntary work done by the NGO in enhancing animal welfare in Fiji is BAF executive chairman Xavier Khan. Mr Khan said the MOU between Animals Fiji and BAF was extremely crucial and beneficial not only in improving disease reporting, but also reducing the chances of the spread of zoonotic diseases such as rabies. More emphasis will be given to modernise the legislations to capture the Animal Welfare more precisely. Mr Khan, who is the permanent delegate for the World Animal Health Organisation (OIE) for Fiji, said Fiji being the member of OIE also has the responsibility to ensure that the welfare of all animals in the country is in good state. This includes being healthy, comfortable, well nourished and safe and ensuring the animals are not suffering from unpleasant states such as pain, fear and distress. He said good animal welfare is also needed for disease prevention and appropriate veterinary treatment, shelter, management and nutrition, humane handling and humane slaughter or killing.
“With globalisation, there is a demand for improved veterinary services in Fiji and further demand of welfare of animals in livestock production. However, I commend the work done by Animals Fiji for the voluntary veterinary services provided by them around the country,” Mr Khan said. Mr Khan said the partnership with Animals Fiji would allow BAF and Animals Fiji to share information and data relevant to biosecurity issues and animal welfare and improve disease reporting capabilities in Fiji which would help prevent new diseases coming into the country as well as track and treat all established animal diseases present in Fiji. “BAF as the National Contact Point for OIE is serious about animal welfare in the country and is putting in a lot of effort to ensure that animal health and protection is enhanced in the country. “We will also be launching Billboards and other information, education and awareness materials to educate the public on this issue,” he said. “Animal welfare is an ever evolving issue in all countries throughout the world. Fiji is no different. Education is a huge key to the success of the improvement of animal welfare in general and further empower all Fijians. And through working together with Animals Fiji, BAF will have more resources to educate the Fijian public on this issue.” Mr Khan said under the MOU, both BAF and Animals Fiji will also train staff from other respective agencies. Animals Fiji was started in 2011 as an animal welfare fundraising body. Currently the NGO is operating from Nadi, Savusavu, Labasa, Taveuni and Lautoka. The NGO main objective is to reduce the epidemic of stray cats and dog populations that plague villages, towns and rural areas through desexing programmes. However, our teams treat a variety of animals including—pigs, cattle, horses, goats, and wildlife. The NGO runs on the support of voluntary veterinary services. BAF and Animals Fiji have the same view of One-Health Approach, “a worldwide concept and strategy for expanding interdisciplinary collaborations and communications in all aspects of health care for humans, animals and the environment. Co-founder and managing trustee Ms Quimby said the MOU between BAF and Animals Fiji was a huge opportunity for both the Fiji Government and our NGO to work together towards the same goal of improving and preserving Fiji’s environment and resources for the betterment of both our humans and animals.
“It is Animals Fiji’s hope to continue to grow the communication along with BAF to include a variety of other government departments and organisations within Fiji,” she said. BAF advocates animal welfare is equally important and your voice be the voice of those who have no voice. Source: Biosecurity Authority of Fiji