Conference Philosophy

All animals in Africa deserve humane treatment, irrespective of their impact, purpose or value to people and their environment. Traditionally, most African societies are replete with moral duties of care and compassion towards animals, including insects and worms.

Animal thought is deeply entrenched in cultural norms, traditions, customs and practices whereby indigenous local knowledge has historically facilitated co-existence in most African societies. This African frame of mind towards non-human creatures resonates with the post-modern understanding of the animal welfare concept. Science confirms that animals are sentient beings; this means that they have feelings and hence deserve welfare considerations.

But animal welfare is still anathema to policy makers and thinkers in Africa because of difficulties to incorporate and monitor it effectively in development programmes and strategies. Animal health is just a part, and not the whole, of the welfare issue. The tendency to focus on animal health specifically ignores that animal welfare is about people and their attitudes towards animals. Therefore, animal welfare addresses the way animals cope with conditions they live and thrive in. These conditions, peculiarly, depend on people.  However, the impact of animal welfare on human societies in Africa, is debatable.

Nevertheless, many conditions in Africa exacerbate the need for promoting animal welfare especially for companion animals, wildlife, farm animals, laboratory animals, working animals, animals in captivity, marine and animals in entertainment. Development in Africa therefore must include animal welfare. Animal welfare stakeholders should strive to elevate animal welfare issues at local, national, regional and international forums in Africa.

There are over 100 civil society animal welfare organizations across the continent endowed with expertise and resources committed to animal welfare promotion. The CSOs pose various abilities to link with global agencies, including the United Nations agencies, European Union, World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and Africa Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), to develop political goodwill and raise public awareness, not just advocacy and education. There is a growing need to mobilize for introduction of animal welfare policies and legislation as well as support, facilitate and harmonize animal humane education and training in schools, academia and training institutions.

All these therefore necessitate the Africa Animal Welfare Conference as forum to stimulate discussion and develop action for animal welfare in Africa.

Animal Welfare in Africa

In Africa, animals are a key part of the livelihood component in families, and each homestead has an animal attached to it. The observation is that whereas animals are part of community life in Africa, they are also subjected to much suffering since they play the livelihood support role and are used for both subsistence and commercial purposes.

AAW Conference is based on the belief that animals should enjoy the Five Freedoms at all times; these are freedom from hunger and thirst, freedom from pain, injury and disease, freedom to express natural behaviour, freedom from discomfort and freedom from fear and distress.

The attainment of good welfare practices in Africa can be best achieved through the involvement and participation of all, and especially the policy makers and practitioners in various sectors related directly or indirectly to the animal industry.

The moral question though is whether animals should suffer? It is recognized that animals are sentient beings and do suffer a lot due to human activities, they should not suffer. The deliberation and interactions at the AAW Conferences will always be centered around promoting liberal thoughts in addressing the animal welfare agenda.

Why the Conference?


The Conference has the vision to be a premier platform for animal welfare stakeholders in Africa to dialogue and address circumstances and developments in animal welfare.


The Conference has a mission to bring together animal welfare stakeholders to deliberate on critical issues affecting animals, their value and their contribution to socio- economic development in Africa.


The overall goal of the conference is to stimulate policy development, review and planning for the realization of animal welfare.

The Conference will be held annually hosted in any one of the 54 African countries. The activities of each year will be guided by an agreed theme and objectives, all leading to the Conference goal.

The Conference conveners, Africa Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW), believe that animals should not suffer and that everyone in Africa needs to have a basic understanding of animal welfare and engage in practices that support good care and minimize the suffering of animals. The Africa Animal Welfare Conference is based on the premise that animal welfare practice is the best way of reducing suffering of animals.

The Conference brings to the fore the fact that animal welfare is everyone’s responsibility because it is about what people do to animals and how we keep our animals. It seeks to bring to light whether people are conscious about how they cause suffering to animals and if people who interact with animals are able to tell when an animal is suffering. The Conference would seek to find out whether all veterinary intervention is good or does some of it inflict suffering to animals. It will also be keen on highlighting the linkage between animal suffering and our political, social or economic practices in Africa. For example, poaching, poor farming practices, limited choice for animals, persecution and conflict are conditions that exacerbate deplorable animal welfare in most parts of Africa.

It is desired that every forum held under the auspices of the Africa Animal Welfare Conference cumulatively contribute towards building a critical mass of political goodwill and ignite innovative ways of responding to animal welfare issues across Africa.

AAW Conference

Africa Animal Welfare Conference is an annual conference co-hosted by Africa Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW) in collaboration with United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and African Union InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) for professionals and practitioners, coming together to discuss issues that cut across animal welfare, wildlife and environmental conservation.

Office Locations

Kifaru House,

House Number 137,

Milima Road, Hardy-Karen,

Nairobi, Kenya.