Lotto says no funds for animal welfare

The National Lotteries Commission has told the SPCA it is not currently funding organisations that work in animal welfare.

This could leave the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) without funds to rescue abandoned and mistreated pets and to continue their campaigns to stop dog fighting and donkey skin trading.

A lotteries commission manager‚ Chickey Mofet-Mubu‚ explained the funding cut to National Council of SPCA’s executive director Marcelle Meredith in a letter sent last week.

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In the letter Meredith was told: “The 2016 Charities Open Call for Applications will focus on strategic focus areas that are aligned with the National Development Plan as well as government priorities.”

Meredith has criticised this explanation‚ saying money for animals can help humans too. For instance‚ she said‚ vaccinating animals against rabies protected humans from contracting the incurable disease.

“Uplifting the welfare of animals helps communities. Take the current nationwide scandal of donkeys being stolen to be slaughtered for their skins. This dreadful crime affects the poorest and usually most rural communities who are being deprived of their only means of transportation.”

Six branches of the SPCA earned a total of R2.47 million in lottery funding in the 2015/16 financial year‚ according to the lottery commission’s latest annual report.

This was sharp drop from almost R10 million going to 28 branches in the 2014/15 financial year.

Meredith asked what Nelson Mandela‚ their former SPCA patron in chief‚ would think about the funding cut.

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“The exclusion of animal welfare organisations is short-sighted and inexcusable‚” said Meredith.

She also complained about the late notice given‚ after many SPCA branches invested a lot of time preparing grant applications.

“The manner of communicating this was blunt and unforeseen. Organisations‚ including ourselves‚ spent a great deal of time and effort in submitting detailed applications for essential projects with budgets‚ business plans and worthy goals that would benefit communities.

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“This ill-considered decision has wide and long-term ramifications which our country cannot afford. The National Council of SPCAs will take up the matter – as far as Parliament – and will be steadfast in our efforts to ensure transparency in every aspect of the National Lotteries Commission’s income and spending.”

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