“If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.” – St. Francis of Assisi
On the 27th of April we were very delighted to have welcomed Ms. Iris Ho, the Wildlife Program Manager of Humane Society International, at our CYNESA headquarters in Nairobi. Humane Society International is one of the largest animal protection organizations in the world. Some of their tasks include; support local governments during disaster management in the protection of animals, wildlife conservation, create awareness through public education programs, influence government policies in regards to animal protection and liaise with faith based groups in animal protection programs. CYNESA and Humane International have one thing in common and that is to protect all of God’s creatures.
The youth have the power to make a difference in the society because they are the majority of any population in Africa. CYNESA provides a platform for the youth to raise awareness in issues of environmental sustainability. This is done through educating the society on such issues, networking, advocacy training and the promotion of concrete projects.
Through our conversation with Ms. Ho we were able to learn various aspects in relation to animal protection and environmental sustainability. We discussed the outbreak of Ebola as being a result of scientific research work being conducted on animals such as monkeys. We need to advocate for various policies that put the foreign researchers on check when they come to conduct their projects in Africa. We also discussed the importance of organic farming in promoting healthy living for various societies. All the Chicken lovers can relate to this; one can differentiate between ‘kuku kienyeji’ and ‘broiler’.
Another issue is the emission of greenhouse gases from agricultural industries or what is also referred to as factory farming which damages our environment. Ms. Ho was also surprised to know that we have stray dogs and cats roaming around especially in the rural areas. In terms of Wildlife conservation in Africa, recently we witnessed that Kenya set the pace by burning Ivory that was illegally obtained by poachers. However, Ms. Ho mentioned that there is the growing concern of the rise of poaching cases ever since Africa partnered with China in terms of infrastructure development. We need to develop alternative income measures for poachers other than ivory; this would provide an effective solution for poaching. Trophy hunting is also a growing concern in Africa as these hunters kill thousands of exotic animals in the name of providing a solution to elephant poaching.
Lastly, the Catholic Church could also promote the notion of animal protection by taking into perspective the animal conservancy option for catholic dioceses that own chunk of land.
It was a great honour meeting Ms. Ho and we hope to meet her again and discuss further on the journey of animal protection in Africa.
CYNESA Kenya – Core Team Member.