Theatre on Wheels – Owned & Operated by the Cluny Animal Trust, Making a Huge Difference in the Free State

9th Mar, 2021

Cluny Team on World Spay Day

Written by and photos supplied by Imogen Tarita, Volunteer, Cluny Animal Trust

Daisy is a really special little lady: she’s the Cluny Animal Trust’s much-loved and unique Nissan UD60 8-ton mobile operating theatre. Over the years, she’s become a familiar sight in the eastern Free State areas, with her striking white livery bejewelled with blue and mauve logos and a powerful engine that makes her sound the business! And that business is making a difference in the lives of those in need.

Since 2014, Daisy has travelled thousands of kilometres, all over the Free State and as far afield as Richards Bay and Witbank. 

Daisy makes accessible vet care possible

While there are other NGOs and PBOs in South Africa that own veterinary mobile clinics, we are the only one that owns and operates its very own veterinary mobile operating theatre (that we know of). Daisy is kitted out with two operating tables, and she’s designed to house patients before and after surgery so that our vets can provide veterinary care in a controlled and sterile environment. Being 100% mobile means that she helps us to provide much-needed veterinary care to out-of-reach communities that typically have no access to care for their animals of any kind.

The reality is that veterinary care, even at a basic level, is expensive. For many animals, the only veterinary care they ever receive is when we come to town. Although the bulk of what we do revolves around sterilisations, vaccinations, deworming and treating animals for ticks and fleas, we also perform many other necessary and life-saving procedures for animals in need.

During our outreaches, our entire team work from dawn till dusk making sure that as many patients (animals) can be seen as possible. But it isn’t only surgical cases that we treat…

More than just surgery

On the right-hand side of Daisy is a retractable awning (which, quite frankly, was a genius idea to include in her design). This is where our dedicated Animal Welfare Assistants (AWAs) normally do routine procedures like dipping, deworming and vaccinating any animals not coming in for surgery. It may surprise you to learn that during a single weekend our tiny team of six people can see and help treat from 100-300 animals. 

During each outreach, we spend time educating as many children as we can. In the shade of Daisy, we’ll set up a makeshift classroom – we love to spend time with the children, and we have a variety of worksheets, in local languages, and we teach them about how to look after and care for their animals. We do this because we all feel it’s vitally important to teach the next generation about how to respect and take care of animals.

Daisy makes all of this possible.

You can help keep Miss Daisy driving

Like any piece of well-used equipment, Daisy is maintained regularly but, as with any animal welfare organisation, money is always in short supply. To keep her in tip-top running order and to extend her life she really does need a major refurb. But the impact of COVID-19 means that fundraising for this majestic lady has had to be put on hold… So, if you have read this article and would like to find out more about Cluny Animal Trust and how you can help us, please get in touch; we’d love to hear from you!

For more information about the Cluny Animal Trust, including what we do, our special projects, fundraising, etc., please contact Imogen Tarita – or visit our website

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