Q&A with Dr Sami Mzabi, SPANA Tunisia Country Director
What particular challenges do working animals face in Tunisia?
Sadly, one of the major problems for working animals in Tunisia is inappropriate care from owners who don’t know how to properly look after them. Misguided traditional practices, such as nose slitting and putting engine oil on wounds, are also common. This is something we are working hard to correct.
What are you most proud of about the work you and your team have done in Tunisia?
Thanks to our community training work, we have seen a big decrease in the use of traditional practices. It’s still a problem, but we’re making a big difference. Aside from that, I’m most proud of the trust and reputation the SPANA Tunisia team have built up with working animal owners.
How have things changed in the last few years?
In recent years, we’ve put a lot more focus on training. So many of the problems we see in our clinics are avoidable. By training communities and working animal owners, we can stop harm and suffering happening in the first place, rather than waiting to treat animals once it has.
What are your ambitions for SPANA’s work in Tunisia in the next few years?
In the next few years, we’ll be working really hard to improve our education programme. We’re trying to increase the number of educators we have by training teachers across the country to deliver animal welfare education to children. We also hope these teachers can run their own animal welfare clubs. We have some clubs run by students, but we would like to have at least one club in every region of the country.