Namibian farmers acknowledge that as human society evolves, so does it’s prevailing moral standards. Wealthy post-industrial societies have adopted animal welfare standards that were unheard of in those same societies until recently; and, due to the socio-cultural as well as economic dominance of these societies globally, so their changing moral standards have spread internationally. Swakara farmers in Namibia have no economic interest in lowering animal welfare standards. Livestock farming in Namibia was already governed by strict production rules, as well as compulsory yearly health inspection checks. Through the Swakara Board of Namibia, swakara farmers have adopted a self-imposed set of standards, a Code of Practice, an industry initiative, specifically controlling the production methods and conditions of swakara farming.
The Code of Practice is a set of rules guiding the swakara industry to deliver a product in harmony with it’s environment, while meeting internationally accepted ethical production standards, encompassing every aspect of swakara farming, including animal welfare and also farm-labourer’s conditions.
These standards have been formed in close co-operation with the European Union. Based upon the recommendations of the World Organisation for Animal Health, these standards are not only in keeping with European legislation, but also those of the United States, Canada and New Zealand. These standards are based upon the five freedoms:
Freedom from hunger, thirst and malnutrition
Freedom from fear and distress
Freedom from thermal and physical discomfort
Freedom from pain, injury and disease
Freedom to express normal behaviour
Responsible rules mean nothing without proper regulation. The Namibian government has approved this Code of Practice and directed the Swakara Board in terms of the Swakara Pelts and Wool act, to implement the Code of Practice and to ensure maximum compliance by all swakara producers.