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Advocating for animal welfare - Interview with Nyasha Nyarota
Elizabeth Nyamuda,
July 12, 2011

Nyasha Lindiwe Nyarota has just turned 25. She's a Psychology major at Africa University in Mutare. Initially she wanted to specialize in Animal Psychology but discovered that there isn't really a market for this in Zimbabwe.

Recently Nyasha spoke to Kubatana's Elizabeth Nyamuda about her passion in working for the welfare of animals.

What motivates you to work for the welfare of animals?
There are a plethora of reasons that have motivated me to work for animal welfare. Firstly, when I was a child I had a friend who had dogs and they could not cater to their dogs' needs. They would let their dogs find their own food, they were never vaccinated and it really hit home. It was heartbreaking to see their pets go through various diseases and not get treated for them. If you move in and around Zimbabwe you find that people do not know how to adequately take care of their animals. I have four dogs at home and the female (Kleo) had pups. My father gave them away, and when I followed up on the pups, they were either dead of critically ill. Animal owners need to be educated about the do's and don'ts when taking care of their animals. The SPCA has played a major role when it comes to the welfare of Animals in Harare. They deal with animal abuse cases, educate the public on animal abuse as well as move around high-density areas in Harare vaccinating and dipping animals.

In your opinion what factors do you think contribute to the abuse of animals in society?
There are various reasons why animals are abused in our society. One reason being the economic situation in Zimbabwe has affected people as well as animals. People who own pets have had difficulties catering for them because veterinary costs; medication costs as well as dog food prices are unbelievably high. Owners can't not afford basic necessities for their own families let alone their pets. I was listening to the radio recently and they were talking about people dumping their dogs on the Mutare Highway. If people think they can't continue caring for their pets it's safer to hand the dog, cat, hamster etc to the SPCA. Another reason is education; people need to be educated about how to take care of their pets. Dogs or cats aren't goats that can fend for themselves. They need shelter, clean water, food that has all their daily required nutrients, they need to be vaccinated, they need to be bathed to get rid of fleas, and most of all they need love and someone to play with. Lastly, there are those people who breed animals to make quick money.

What have been your biggest challenges in this work?
Being so young its hard to get people to take you seriously especially when they are quite a bit - well, a lot - older and more experienced than you. I have to work harder, be smarter and be on their level of thinking. It's quite challenging but in itself I love a good challenge, it drives me to want to be better at what I do. I work well under pressure.

Have you grown close to a particular animal over the course of your work? Tell us the story.
Well every animal is special in its own way! I have noticed that every animal has its own personality. Having four dogs at home, they have distinct personalities. I have been close to every animal I have come in contact with. All they need is a lot of love and you will be very good friends.

As far as your future goes, how do you see it playing out?
Two months ago I saw an advertisement in a local newspaper informing the public about the difficulties the SPCA is facing due to the Airport Rd upgrade. They have been forced to relocate and rebuild their surgery elsewhere. I saw that as a sign to help them, as I am an animal lover myself. It has been a lifelong dream to work with the SPCA. I have always wanted to establish an Animal Welfare Organization in Zimbabwe. By working with the SPCA I feel that I will gain experience and knowledge of the risks and rewards of managing an animal rights organization. As the youth in Zimbabwe I believe we can be the solution to our problems. It can start with us taking the first step in the right direction. Five years from now, I believe I will have established an Animal Welfare Organization that will help to educate, as well as eliminate animal abuse that is prevailing in our beautiful country.

What do you do in your community? Email us and we'll share your inspiration. Info [at] Kubatana [dot] net

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