October 8, 2005
Capacity Building Success Stories
Success Story 1: Central American countries promote humane slaughter and animal welfare
Humane Society International (HSI) and the Global Alliance for Humane Sustainable Development (Global Alliance), with support from the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID), have been promoting the humane slaughter of bovine cattle, improving handling practices, and creating a more efficient process that results in better quality of meat throughout Central America.
The “Training of Trainers” program established by HSI/Global Alliance in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras provides sustainability to a core group of Central American experts that can address animal welfare concerns through the design and implementation of local assistance programs. These programs are run in partnership with the private sector, the governments, and academia.
Success Story 2: Central American countries prepare for new markets by incorporating animal welfare into their strategic planning
In conjunction with HSI/Global Alliance animal welfare experts, Central American countries have begun addressing animal welfare concerns. For example:
- Costa Rica’s livestock industry group has established a five-year plan for implementing animal welfare within the beef sector.
- Costa Rican producer and auction associations in rural areas have incorporated animal welfare practices into their strategic planning.
- The Nicaraguan livestock industry has requested and received targeted training and technical assistance in order to comply with animal welfare standards that improve production and meat quality.
- Producer groups based in Guatemala and El Salvador have requested and received technical assistance to kick start their efforts in animal welfare awareness.
Success Story 3: Costa Rican livestock industry addresses economic loss due to poor handling practices
HSI and the Corporación de Fomento Ganadero (CORFOGA), which represents more than 40,000 beef and dairy producers in Costa Rica, developed a study that revealed economic losses resulting from poor handling of beef carcasses. For the duration of the study, lesions noted on beef carcasses were collected, weighed and, according to the cut, assigned a price level giving each lesion an economic value. CORFOGA was then able to quantify the economic impact of each lesion, as well as identify the factors that influence lesions on bovine carcasses prior to slaughter.
The final results of the study indicated an average annual loss of $1 million as a result of poor handling practices. The study proposed alternative practices that diminish economic losses for farmers and/or slaughterhouses. CORFOGA has since begun disseminating the results of the study within Costa Rica in order to train farmers on ways to prevent injury through good animal handling. In addition, HSI is transferring the study’s methodology and process to other Central American countries.
Success Story 4: Economic growth in El Salvador through humane agricultural organic production
El Salvador is the second most deforested country in the Western hemisphere. The La Quesera community in northern El Salvador is no exception; the destruction of flora, fauna, and water resources are common there.
In 2004, HSI/Global Alliance worked with USAID to help promote organic production that could lead to sustainable habitat protection and job creation for women supporting families in the La Quesera community. Shuchil Industries, a Salvadoran natural products company, also invested in the community, allowing the families to manage the land and develop their own long-term production process in order to sell lemon grass products for higher value production.
The cultivation of organic lemon grass promotes added value, resulting in both a higher price and increased wages for workers. In this way the people living in La Quesera could count on higher income without damaging their environment. In addition, various types of small mammals and birds who still remain in the area can count on shade trees that provide housing for both permanent and migratory species.
Success Story 5: Newcastle Disease contained in El Imposible National Park in El Salvador
Its size and biological diversity have made Bosque El Imposible National Park the most important natural area of El Salvador. In 2004 SalvaNATURA, a national environmental group in El Salvador, invited HSI and its Rural Area Veterinarian Services (RAVS) program to El Imposible. The HSI/RAVS program developed a program focusing on education and veterinary clinics intended to control stray animal populations and increase awareness of animal welfare issues and solutions.
While working in small communities around El Imposible, however, RAVS personnel encountered a Newcastle Disease outbreak. Newcastle Disease is an incurable disease that strikes different kinds of birds. In this particular case, chickens were hosting the disease. From the initial identification through the ultimate containment, the RAVS team and local community worked together to prevent further spread of the disease. In addition, the RAVS team provided demonstrations on how to properly dispose of the diseased birds and treat the coops to prevent further development of the disease in the area.