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Animal rights group to expand reach in Ethiopia
From left Tassew Woldehanna (PhD), Geoffrey Dennis during the signing of a memorandum-ofunderstanding at AAU

Animal rights group to expand reach in Ethiopia

SPANA, a UK based international animal rights group is to expand its work within Ethiopia.

With a memorandum-of-understanding signed in the presence of Addis Ababa University president, Tassew Woldehanna and Geoffrey Dennis, the Chief Executive of the organization at the university; the organization announced a multi-year commitment within Ethiopia, including with the College of Veterinary Medicine and Agriculture valued at 50 million Birr for the next five years.

The money is set to be used to train the next generation of veterinarians and expand veterinary programs, expand emergency services to help the charity help in cases of natural disasters, create humane education programs and help expand programs to teach young people in the issues of animal welfare. It will also be used to support community emergency resilience project in Shashemene area, targeting women donkey owners whose lives are dependent on their working animals.

Furthermore, the group is to partner with the University of Gonder to establish Equine Clinical Skills Center to help offer community training and also allow it to create the mechanism to provide experts to lecture when needed on the issues of equine medicine, constructing donkey shades at public market places, and equine water troughs.

“We do not just care about the animals (in Ethiopia) but the community they serve,” said Geoffrey. “That is why we are planning to spend more money within Ethiopia, making it one of our top spending destinations in the world.”

The organization works in twenty five countries in the world, in particular in Morocco, Mali, Zimbabwe and others in the continent.

“The relationship between SPANA and Addis Ababa University helps us retain our status as the top research institution in the country and one of the leaders in the continent. We hope this expanded partnership will continue to be a long-term relationship,” said president Tassew.

The group estimates there are approximately 200 million working horses, donkey, camels, elephants and others animals in developing nations, which 80 percent of the working equines to be in developing nations.

 “We are to have four DFPAs and we plan to have extensive programs in Shashemene, Kimbibit, Welmera and Baso & Worana districts,” Teferi Abebe, the country director in Ethiopia told The Reporter. “Approximately, 123,000 working animals will be valued, cared and experience good welfare and receive free treatment in 178 villages and thousands of people will receive training with a strategy to help them gain practical knowledge and skills and insight in animal welfare.”

Ethiopia is known to have the largest population of donkeys in the world, according to Geoffrey.