|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
With great sadness we advise that Colin Anderson, founder member of the Blue Cross in Zimbabwe, has passed away following a short illness. The Society will forever owe a debt of gratitude to Colin who has left behind such a wonderful legacy. The challenging Blue Cross has become a favourite event for local and regional cyclists and walkers who ‘dare to care’ about the animals of Zimbabwe.
Many past participants attended Colin’s funeral service in Harare, and in a fitting tribute to Colin, wore their Blue Cross medals.
On to recent animals welfare cases here. Starting on a positive note, having pursued their case against a Ruwa ZANU PF Councillor for assaulting two ZNSPCA Inspectors, the Councillor pleaded guilty and was fined.
Earlier this year, a couple returning to Zambia who had stopped to change a tyre near Eagle’s Nest, spotted ‘Monty’ in a field - the horse was nothing but skin and bone and they reported the pitiful sight to the ZNSPCA. He was rescued, received veterinary treatment and has happily been found a good home - one of the few fortunate ones.**
Monty had been left behind by a commercial farmer who was evicted from his farm during the land invasions. The horse was left with a new farmer and for a year was severely mistreated, being ridden by all the farm workers to round up cattle.
The ZNSPCA received a tip off that Harare Municipal security dogs were starving and investigations revealed this to be true. None of the four Municipal security dog facilities in Harare had dog meal, and meat was only being provided when one of the municipal cattle died. All dogs were emaciated and three had to be PTS. Under threat of prosecution, dog meal is now being provided and all animals are gaining weight. The situation will be closely monitored.
Dairy herds continue to have a very rough time and following another tip off, a herd in very bad condition was attended to in Beatrice. Many of the cows were suffering from a disease called ‘Senkoba’ which results in bleeding lesions on affected animals. The cattle belong to another ‘absentee’ farmer who has not monitored the condition of the herd or managed their feeding and welfare. Fortunately he has responded positively to warnings.
ZNSPCA now attend monthly cattle auctions due to the manner in which cattle have been transported, loaded and off-loaded, with some buyers taking two or three days to collect animals after the sale. Meryl reports that they have received excellent co-operation from the Auctioneers and they now read out a warning from the Inspectors before each sale.
Whilst on the road recently, the team stopped a bus from Mutare carrying 15 goats on the roof (which is illegal). It turned out the owner of the goats was a policeman. Further investigations by ZNSPCA and Police Rusape revealed the goats had actually been stolen.
Mbezi Game Lodge was invaded again and ZNSPCA was called in to rescue a parrot, cat and tortoise after the owner had been violently evicted. A day later the team supervised the loading and removal of part of the cattle herd.
ZNSPCA were also involved in the relocation of several impala and zebra from Willdale Farm, which has been designated. Game Management Services carried out the capture and were very organized and used a helicopter very skillfully to herd the animals. The relocation was arranged by Johnnie Rodrigues of the Zimbabwe Conservations Task Force and went very smoothly with minimum stress caused to the animals.**
The ZNSPCA team was called to attend a quite horrific stock theft case. Several goats and weaners had been stolen and the goats had been hung upside down alive by their hind legs from trees using wire. The cattle were immobilized by having barbed wire tied very tightly around their back legs - one animal subsequently died.** The animals had been left like this for 3 days and nights before they were found. The accused has been arrested and is being charged with stock theft and cruelty to animals.
We regret to report that the team have once again had to return to Charleswood Estate in Chimanimani. The army have taken over completely, with a high ranking officer having taken up residence in the house, which still contains all of Roy Bennett’s clothing and personal belongings.
When Meryl and Simon arrived, accompanied by only one policeman, they found a boom across the entrance and army tents. The policeman was very nervous. The soldiers manning the boom let the team through but another soldier ran down the hill shouting “the Colonel is not here”. The team made it on to the farm and started attending to the cattle – one calf had been axed across the head. They found that the bull they had treated twice previously had died. The calf which had an arrow head removed from its back on the last visit was also not doing well – workers advised that all vet meds were locked up. An army officer informed Meryl that workers merely had to ask if they wanted anything but workers are obviously too scared to approach army details.
One dog was recovered which had been left behind by former farm workers who had managed to sneak off the farm. The family’s rabbits were not in their hutches – presumably eaten along with two chickens.
The phones to the farmhouse had been cut and although the team made a point of not saying much to the farm workers, as there were army details present everywhere, Simon and Meryl found them to be depressed, frightened and confused.
As they were leaving the farm, Meryl observed about 50 workers being rounded up outside the house. We can only hope that there were no ‘repercussions’ to ZNSPCA being there. Meryl did go to great lengths to explain to the army that they were merely there on a follow-up visit to check on the animals which had been injured previously.
On the way out the team encountered a group of ZANU PF militia at the boom who were rather less cordial than the army details.
Best regards and appreciation
** Photos on request