RELIEF SUPPORT FOR ANIMAL RESCUE ORGANISATIONS DURING LOCK DOWN IN SOUTH AFRICA.

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I hope I stand here as real evidence for all, that no matter where you came from it’s about where you are going and that real change, real evolution and real perception shift can happen if we open our minds and soften our hearts. People can create change, believe me it would have been easier just to stay with my head stuck in the sand, resolving that the problems out there, are not my problem and others can deal with it and just have a neutralist stance and walk around saying ‘just more hugs, would save the world…..’ But no way, my head is not stuck in the sand, and the problems out there might not be my doing but it is my passion and my responsibility to make a change. No longer can I sit in silence and hope we will make it, that the problems in animal welfare and what we as organizations face, will be sorted out in some way. I have to stand for what I know is true, and that is a quality and justice for all, period. This pandemic we are facing in our country, is sudden, despairing and crippling. But every single speech that our President has given, every single measure he and his cabinet have put in place in terms a risk adjusted strategy to and for a whole list of economic value sectors, has excluded one important sector – Animal Welfare. No where has any means of support or relief been offered to animal welfare organizations. We do realize that animal welfare organizations are not government funded, yet we are an Essential Service because without us our government would have to control and contain the pandemic of pet over-population and the spread of zoonotic diseases, from animals to humans, not to mention the basic code of conduct that we are animal rescue organizations undertake every single day. And no it’s not rescue a neglected cat or dog, making him or her better and then finding an adoptive family. Our economic value may not contribute financially to the economy but it sure does alleviate major issues in our country, namely:
Assisting impoverished and destitute families with their animals, treating severe ailments, curbing over-population through mass sterilization campaigns, taking preventative measures to ensure animals do not contract deadly diseases, of which some are zoonotic, through primary health care such as vaccinating and deworming, not to mention the lack of law assisted protection for animals in our country, which we task ourselves to do when severe cruelty and abuse takes place. We are the forgotten ones, doing the most difficult jobs of caring for animals as a whole because if it was not for us, how would our government deal with the masses of over-population when pets go unsterilized in so many communities, when lost and dumped pets just roam the streets everywhere, when sick animals cannot be reached and the spread of diseases just worsens the already difficult conditions because there is not prevention care for them.
This can become a real problem seeing as due to lock down, we not only have any form of relief support from the government, but having to still run our daily animal rescue efforts without funding and without the means of still being able to sterilize and vaccinate animals during lock down, is slowly breeding catastrophe. Without some form of relief support and also having controlled measures put in place for animal rescue organizations as an essential service, to still partner with their vets during lock down to be bale to continue our life saving work of which sterilization of animals is number one on the list. Most of our vets are only open for emergencies and having to rely on public donations alone during lock down when the public themselves are facing devastation in terms of loss of income, means we are clutching at straws having to find non existent funds in other ways, seeing as we cannot have any fundraising events. We cannot afford the vet bills, food bills and the masses of animals being dumped and surrendered during this time due to people not having animals as a priority on their lists right now. We are the ones sitting with the catastrophe…..and we are now looking to our government for help and support for us because what would happen to our country and animal welfare if there was no more animal welfare organizations able to continue and having to close down and not take care of animal welfare in our country like we have been for years, without ever asking the government to fund our efforts. We are not asking you to simply just give money to animal welfare, we are asking you to see the integral role we as a sector on our own play in this country and that some relief measures and some sort of financial reprieve should be put in place for us too. We need to survive for the sake of all the animals out there needing us but we cannot survive this lock down on our own……if you can put certain amounts of funding aside as relief for our people then surely consideration can be made for the same people who go above and beyond to fight for and protect animal welfare in our country. Mr. President you have been a pillar of strength for our country, please can we ask you to be a pillar of strength for us in animal welfare too.