Project management

Project leader Julia

Our project: Animal transports and markets in Morocco

Farming is one of the pillars of the Moroccan economy and special significance is given to livestock production. According to figures provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in 2012, more than 3 million cattle, 190 million chickens and turkeys, nearly 6 million goats and more than 19 million sheep were raised in Morocco. Additionally, for example in 2010, 16.000 cattle for breeding were imported from Germany as well 150.000 units of bovine semen. In 2011, it was said that 60% of all “dairy” cows in Morocco were of German origin. In 2012, Morocco imported 19.608 cattle from the European Union, the majority of them again from Germany and France.

Small scale farmers dominate in Morocco and many rural families live from and with their animals. 95% of the "farm" animals are sold at the so-called "souks", weekly markets that take place in the majority of towns and villages throughout the country. In 2006, Animals’ Angels observed severe animal welfare problems at the souks, for example:

  • brutal and medieval slaughter methods,
  • double deck trucks with no ramps,
  • leg shackling,
  • lifting or dragging animals by their legs and their fleece,
  • no water, no food,
  • no shade, exhausted and dehydrated "working" animals.

Apart from the problems at the souks and during transport, Animals’ Angels observed severe deficiencies at holdings, such as:

  • animals for fattening permanently tethered,
  • dark and dirty stables,
  • insufficient water supply and poor air conditions.

During a recent investigation in March 2014, Animals’ Angels had to discover that absolutely no improvement had occurred concerning the protection of "farm" animals since 2006. This in spite of the fact, that the Moroccan Government is giving high priority to agriculture development efforts. However, it seems that animal welfare is not playing a role in this priority policy. Morocco has not even yet adopted any animal welfare legislation. However, it seems that there is a small light at the end of the tunnel: a draft for a new animal health law has been elaborated by the Government in 2013 which foresees some aspects for “farm” animal protection. Whether and when this law comes into force is unclear, as well as how much it will bring for “farm” animal welfare as its priority are animal health issues.

In cooperation with the Association Barbary Macaque & Conservation (BMAC)

The Association Barbary Macaque Awareness & Conservation from Morocco is primarily dedicated to the protection of Barbary macaques living in the forestland of Tétouan in the country’s north. Sian Waters and her mostly Moroccan colleagues also offer awareness and education programmes and support the villagers and their animals at Bouhachem valley.

Together, BMAC and Animals’ Angels are planning regular inspections at Bni Hassan animal market, the region’s largest market at which each week hundreds of cattle, sheep, goats, horses, donkeys, mules and birds are sold and slaughtered. In addition, awareness and education programmes for proper handling and keeping of "farm" animals are being planned. As a first step, a training course will be held in Spain for BMAC’s Moroccan employees. In this context, Animals’ Angels supports the completion of the Bouhachem Conservation & Education Centre at which the planned projects for "farm" animals will take place next to other activities.

Most families living inside Morocco’s rural areas keep "farm" animals for work, personal consumption or even as an investment. Although we are very critical of this kind of exploitative animal husbandry, we admit that the rural population’s situation here is incomparable to the conditions in Europe and that people here will yet live with and subsist on their animals for a long time. Through the Education Centre, we have the chance to at least improve the way animals are kept and handled and to ban unacceptable forms of tethering and the use of abusive bits. We are very grateful for the cooperation with BMAC while looking forward to our joint project.

What we want to achieve:

  • Make "farm" animal welfare an issue in Morocco
  • The coming into force of a national Animal Welfare Act that takes "farm" animal welfare into account