Ever been to a buffet and thought where is all this food going to go? You are not alone. Food waste around the world, especially at restaurants and hotels is a major issue that is not only unfair to those who are deprived of enough food but also detrimental to the environment.
An Umm Al Quwain-based animal rescue facility has found an effective way of curbing food waste while helping the several dogs they rescue every day.
The Stray Dogs Centre UAQ has joined hands with prominent hotels and other businesses that deal with foodstuff around the UAE to collect the leftover food they produce and feed it to the canines they shelter.
How was the initiative started?
According to Amirah William, one of the founders and owners of the centre, the initiative is framed around three social responsibility goals: Animal welfare, environmental protection and community responsibility.
“The initiative was born through a collaboration with the Love Parties events company and the InterContinental Dubai Marina earlier this year, to provide buffet leftovers for the centre doggies,” said William.
From there, the centre decided to take the initiative forward that would cut costs for them as well as give hotels a sustainable way to deal with the large amount of leftover food they produce.
“We then built on the idea to incorporate the three important social responsibility goals stated previously; firstly, supporting animal welfare, by providing left over food for shelter and stray dogs; secondly, by helping to reduce the impact of waste on the environment; thirdly, community responsibility by helping to support the operation of the centre in reducing its monthly food costs,” William said.
Supporting the cause
The Stray Dogs Centre UAQ has received support over the seven years it’s been functioning and the appreciation has only grown. Volunteers help rescue, feed, exercise and socialise the dogs that come in.
When this particular initiative was started, William said that the management had to employ creative ways to get the word around, attracting both volunteers and businesses.
“Social media has been the main marketing tool for the initiative. The response has been incredible with new hotels and food vendors joining every week,” William said.
Food suitable for dogs
One of the aspects the centre has to be especially be careful of is the food that the dogs are given, as not everything humans eat is suitable for them to digest.
All the hotels and food vendors that choose to join the initiative are provided with a ‘dog friendly’ food list and the centre requires leftovers to be stored and sorted accordingly. This also includes raw meat offcuts and bones.
Currently, volunteers are dispatched to collect food and deliver to it to the centre in Umm Al Quwain on a weekly basis.
Moreover, the support is growing and the centre aims to make it a daily task.
“Participants are growing in number and it is hoped that leftover food can be provided on a daily basis,” said William.
At the moment, a number of hotels are a part of it including: InterContinental Dubai Marina, Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City, JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai, Leva Hotels, Palazzo Versace Dubai, Family Meat Shop and Eathos restaurant operating platform, amongst others.
UAE aims to curb food waste
The rescue centre’s efforts are in line with the UAE’s aim of curbing food waste, especially from food-related businesses.
An initiative led by The Ministry of Climate Change And Environment UAE-based hospitality companies signed the ‘UAE Food Waste Pledge’ this year to save two million meals in 2019 and three million meals in 2020.
“The ‘reduce waste - fill a doggie’s plate’ initiative is one way corporate entities can achieve three corporate social responsibility goals whilst supporting animal welfare in the UAE,” William said.
According to the owners, Stray Dogs Centre Umm Al Quwain is the largest, registered non-profit, rescue centre now in the UAE housing 400 rescued dogs. The centre relies solely on public support to operate.
For details, contact Stray Dogs Centre UAQ on their Facebook page or email at firstname.lastname@example.org