Again, APON marks World Animal Day.
For 4 years in a roll, the Animal Protection Organization of Nigeria – APON, has consistently celebrated World Animal Day, together with other animal rights advocates from other parts of the world. World Animal Day is an initiative of the World Animal Day – (WAD) organization based in the United Kingdom with the intent to unite all animal rights organizations in a collaborative effort to always do the most good for animals -by country-specific. Animal Protection Organization of Nigeria – APON, happens to be a coalition member of WAD -alongside their Nigerian counterparts -like, SPCA Nigeria, and Humane Global Nigeria.
APON, a frontline animal rights and environmental protection nonprofit in Nigeria, known for institutional campaigns, celebrated World Animal day on the 4th of October 2021 in its usual campaign manner, with the theme ‘welfare justice for caged hens’. In a statement signed by the Executive Director of APON – Amb. Joseph Odika, laying hens welfare was prioritized for this year’s celebration due to some issues tied around hens and its linkage to Antimicrobial-Resistant Diseases – AMR, and food safety ‘[…]’.
According to the statement, farmed animals – like laying hens are among the top animal species that go through hellish conditions and have been neglected for years – pointing to the inability to express innate behaviors in such wicked confinement, cruelly and arbitration of animal rights. “Although there’s no such law in Nigeria that prohibits caging birds, nevertheless, the law prohibits putting animals in a condition that would render them comatose.” Odika clearly expressed this in the statement.
The Director of programs – APON, Dr. Kenneth Ugwueze, in a separate interview with our correspondent, supported the statement with emphasis on the welfare and health implication of caging birds. He noted that laying hens’ quality of life is so poor when compared with other animals. According to him, caged birds suffer several degrees of ill-health and disorders namely; cage layer fatigue, avian influenza, acute respiratory disorder, and cannibalism, among others – noting that birds ravaged with these conditions in most cases, end up dead, and infectious diseases under such condition are imminent and can spread like a pandemic.
The theme of the world day celebration as purported in APON’s statement press release is ‘welfare justice for laying hens’. Looking back at the traditional method of raising birds for egg production, one could obviously tell for sure, that millions of birds all over the world are put in the same condition. Because battery cages are predominantly housing systems for farmed birds. Research organizations like Animal Charity Evaluator and The Humane League, have come out with evidence to buttress the claim that birds among all other categories of animals suffer the most. And for this reason, requires urgent intervention to reduce or eradicate their suffering. That is why the organizations prioritize institutional campaigns as the best formula and intervention for farmed animals. Although, among global animal advocates, the intervention is still being argued against as the best form of intervention, nevertheless, there is proven evidence that the intervention has recorded a massive impact globally.
Several countries in Europe have banned cages and quickly replaced them with cage-free systems. Several states in the United States of America are equally following-suit. Apart from the suffering birds go through, there are also other concerns like Antimicrobial – Resistant Infection, which is common with raising birds for food and eggs due to antibiotic administration. AMR in recent times has triggered global concern and discussion, as thousands of people have died due to AMR in America. There was an early warning signal in 2019 by scientists, but not much attention was given to it. But now, the United Nations and World Health Organization – WHO have continually pleaded with nations to take AMR as a matter of urgency.
Storyboard: Femi Oguntayo (Nigerian Tribune) and Vogueinspire Magazine