February 9, 2006
Ethiopia goes to the dogs
Over the weekend, Addis Ababa's International Community School played host to the country's first ever dog show. There was a dog beauty contest and a dog IQ contest together with loads of stalls, snacks, and fair-style entertainments. Fun for all the family.
Now, I know what you're thinking. Typical ferengis lavishing attention on their pets while the humans around them suffer in one of the poorest countries in the world.
But what you might not have realised is that the whole event was organised by a home-grown Ethiopian charity - the Homeless Animals Protection Society (HAPS). One of HAPS' main aims in life is to campaign for animal birth control and rabies vaccination programmes for the thousands of stray dogs and cats that you see everywhere in Ethiopia's main cities. (Members are looking for an alternative to the capital's current animal control policy - leaving poisoned bits of meat lying around in the street.)
As one of the event organisers said in her opening speech:
Many people might think it is a luxury to care for homeless animals in a country like Ethiopia that deals with so many issues such as hunger and many diseases. But we must understand that our fate and the fate of these animals are combined. With three people in Addis Ababa dying from rabies every month, it is not a luxury but our obligation to solve the stray animals problem once and for all.
Many of the dogs on display were former strays that had been rescued by HAPS before being treated, re-housed and groomed to their weekend state of glossy-coated perfection.
Posted by aheavens at February 9, 2006 9:40 AM