Sustainable animal welfare: community-led action for improving care and livelihoods (PLA 66)
The third article in Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) 66 by Lisa van Dijk,S.K. Pradhan, Murad Ali and Ramesh Ranjan, looks at community-led action in India to improve animal health and work~practices, and the development by the community of a participatory animal welfare needs assessment tool. It describes its success and its scaling up from village level to associations and eventually union level. Working animals support the livelihoods of millions of rural and urban families throughout the world and the loss of an animal can cause major stress to families. Yet the role and value of the working animal is still overlooked by government and non-governmental organisations, because their services are mainly focused on improving the health and husbandry of livestock that produce milk, meat, eggs or wool, and working animals do not produce a visible output – their productivity is in their body energy. They play a variety of important roles, including providing a primary source of income by transporting people and goods, supporting agricultural activities and reducing some of the labour and burden, which impacts positively on women in particular, as they are able to spend less time on household tasks and take up opportunities of other employment.