South Africa is home to over 52 million people from diverse backgrounds and preferences. There is a lot of diversity in the country, and the people have a deep affection for animals, especially the ones that serve as pets in homes. The country now has 2 million cats and 7.4 million dogs, and this tally only factors in pets living in homes or shelters. In fact, South Africa has the highest pet population of any country in the African continent. In addition to those animals, there are millions of other species that play a role in the development of the local economy. Animals such as the Cape buffalo, Kudu, leopards and birds have for a long time influenced hordes of enthusiasts, getting them to visit various parks and reserves to take a close look.
It is therefore only fair that those involved take care of animals from all species across the board. Here are ways in which such actions are important in building the economy;
- The creation of employment
The unemployment rate in South Africa currently stands at 25%. Studies show that these figures would actually be worse if it were not for the millions of South Africans gainfully employed in pet training, grooming and general care. A look at the future shows that this part of the industry will continue to have a telling effect on the economy as more citizens open up to the idea of working with animals in homes and protected areas. The animal grooming industry has created quite a boost to the economy of many nations. Once such example is the grooming industry in Australia where mobile groomers such as Paws With Passion and salon based services have created new employment opportunities and raised the profile of animals in the home.
- A boost to tourism
The country receives north of 14 million tourists every year. There is a general consensus that over 90% of these individual visit national parks and game reserves at least once in the course of their stay. Animals such as the Kudu and the Cape Buffalo are a main attraction because of their rarity. Statistics show that tourism contributes to between 1 and 3 percent of the Gross Domestic Product cleared by the government of South Africa every financial year. A huge percentage of what passes of as tourism money’ comes from charges levied on both domestic and foreign visitors in parks and animal-holding areas.
- Management of food production avenues
Some animals are central to the food production processes of South Africa. Horses are used in a variety of ways when it comes to the transport and delivery of farm produce. Sheep and goats also provide an added perspective to the whole idea of production, storage and maintenance of food policies. Cows are handy in their provision of milk, farm manure and related products. Taking care of the health of these animals is a positive move as it guarantees food security in the long-term.
- Research and development
As a rapidly developing country, South Africa is continuously making determined steps in the push towards long-term sustenance. There is a sense of urgency in the way the country is pursuing advanced understanding of animal DNA and behaviour. The country studies different breeds of animals and tries to understand them in order to maximize their abilities. At the same time, one of African’s largest economies pays attention to the productive improvement of species in order to enhance sustenance and boost production levels.
The link between animal health, productivity and the economy
Whether we are talking pets such as dogs and cats or masters of environmental adaptation like horses, there is a need to pay attention to the health of animals in South Africa. Indeed, it would be safe to state that the economic future of the country is in many ways tied to the health of its animals. Veterinary workers need to keep toiling to ensure that the animals of South Africa are free from disease and stress. Threats need to be neutralized as soon as they manifest themselves and grooming needs to take precedence over lesser practices.
The economy of South Africa continues to grow from strength to strength, partly due to an unwavering dedication of vets, park attendants, groomers and homeowners. There is a need to keep animals physically active and emotionally comfortable as this fosters continued development and steady reproductive cycles. As indicated earlier, animals are central to the improvement of the economy in terms of food production, employment and research. Current populations should be nurtured to produce even better off-springs more suited to prevailing condition and more viable from an economic perspective.