ZNSPCA is a non-profit Society that works towards the promotion of effective means for the prevention of cruelty and relief of suffering to animals throughout Zimbabwe.
As the National body for all SPCA’s in Zimbabwe, ZNSPCA not only regularly checks the standards of each SPCA, but also assists these Members by sourcing drugs, equipment, and ensuring that smaller Centres do not close due to financial strain. Due to financial hardships ZNSPCA has taken over management and financial concerns of three of the twelve Societies.
The membership of ZNSPCA comprises all Zimbabwe SPCA Centres, the Blue Cross and NSPCA (South Africa). As early as 1997, this membership recognized the urgent need for SPCA Inspectors to service the vast majority of the country outside of the urban areas, where there were vast numbers of companion, livestock and wild animals without any form of protection.
Thus the noble and somewhat daunting decision to establish a National Inspectorate was formulated. Commencing with only one Inspector in 2000 and no funding, the ZNSPCA up until 2 years ago employed 6 full-time Inspectors and one Administrator. Since February 2011 we now only have two full-time Inspectors in our employ. More are needed in order to adequately service the length and breadth of the country but obviously finances are a major constraint; however the existing team determinedly work long hours under difficult conditions, often far from home, sleeping in tents or in their vehicles, in order to reach all communities in need of our services.
In spite of all the demands placed on them, this brave band find the work challenging but immensely rewarding and all are gratified by the warm response they receive from the largely less advantaged rural communities and the interest and enthusiasm shown by the owners of working animals as they receive treatment for their animals, practical advice and guidance on how to better care for their animals.
The ‘proactive’ approach of enforcing the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act results in the detention of far more hidden cruelty and suffering than the usual ‘reactive’ approach. This of course acts as a deterrent to those who do not treat animals with adequate care. Fortunately, most of those who are brought to book change their ways once they fully understand that all animals are sentient beings and although they have no voice, are also capable of experiencing pain, loneliness, hunger and grief.
Kept in a practical perspective, as many people are dependent on their animals for their livelihood, it does not take long to realize that an animal treated with care and kindness will work harder, be more reliable and more productive than an animal that is beaten mercilessly, not properly rested or inadequately fed and watered.
The core purpose of any SPCA is the prevention of cruelty to animals, and in order to achieve this aim, qualified Inspectors are employed to enforce the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (Chapter 19:09). Besides enforcing the law, Inspectors play a vital role in educating the public on animal welfare issues.
ZNSPCA has a vital role to play in Zimbabwe.
- To ensure that all SPCA’s in Zimbabwe are upholding SPCA National policies and rules.
- To ensure all SPCA Inspectors are competently trained and work at the highest of standards.
- To work with relative Government departments and other stakeholders in the country in order to promote higher standards of animal welfare in Zimbabwe.
- To educate the public of Zimbabwe on all animal welfare issues in order to prevent cruelty to animals.
- To liaise with International Animal Welfare groups in order to ensure that Zimbabwe maintains a high standard of animal welfare and keeps abreast with current changes within the relative industries.
There still exists a great misconception that SPCA’s are only concerned with ‘dogs and cats’. The Cruelty Act requires that SPCA Inspectors protect all vertebrae animals which includes birds, reptiles and fish – although as a Society we are also concerned with the humane treatment of all creatures – as a child who pulls wings from an insect unchecked will soon move on to larger creatures, just as it is a recognized fact that those who abuse animals soon move on to humans.
Since the establishment of the ZNSPCA Inspectorate, the work of the Inspectors has been commended locally and internationally, including an award from the NSPCA (South Africa) the Service to Animals Special Award “in appreciation and admiration of outstanding work under extremely difficult conditions” and the Humane Society International Award for Extraordinary Commitment and Achievement.