Equine Charities Unite to Put Welfare Policy into Practice Worldwide
Equine welfare charities Brooke, The Donkey Sanctuary, SPANA and World Horse Welfare announce their first formal coalition.
The world’s leading international equine welfare charities: Brooke, The Donkey Sanctuary, SPANA and World Horse Welfare, announced their first formal coalition on March 17, 2017. Formed specifically to put policy into practice, the coalition aims to advise, motivate, and support the implementation of the first-ever global welfare standards for working horses, donkeys and mules. These landmark standards were approved by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) in May 2016 following advocacy and technical support from Brooke and World Horse Welfare.
This is the first time all four major charities have formally joined forces. Although not law, these landmark changes finally give legitimacy to calls for equine welfare to be improved around the world.
Brooke USA, headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky, supports international equine welfare programs, particularly those of Brooke International, through fundraising and stewarding donations to the areas of greatest need.
Dr David Jones, Chairman of Brooke USA, said, “This is the sort of vital collaboration between equine welfare groups that has the potential to make significant progress in behalf of working equines around the world, and Brooke USA is proud to support this effort.”
A donkey working in a brick kiln. Photo: Brooke USA
Equine welfare is an ally of humanitarian issues
Petra Ingram, CEO of Brooke International, who spearheaded the formation of the coalition and will be its Chair for the first year, believes that it’s the right vehicle to bring the standards to life. She said, “A respected champion of change can be the difference between success and failure when it comes to implementation. Our message to countries is: Let us help; equine welfare is an ally of humanitarian issues.”
With 180 OIE member states now acknowledging the importance of working horses, donkeys and mules, the time is right for coordinated action to implement the standards around the world.
Chief Executive of World Horse Welfare, Roly Owers, said, “We know that horses, donkeys, and mules are essential to hundreds of millions of human livelihoods, and it is heartening that the world is now recognizing their versatility and importance.
“World Horse Welfare looks forward to working in partnership, bringing our influencing skills and 90 years of practical expertise gained helping equines around the world. The scale of the challenge to help 100 million working animals is so large that we must work together to get them the recognition and support they desperately need.”
A brick kiln horse in India about to negotiate a hill hauling a heavy load. Photo: Brooke USA
A Marwari horse with a loaded wagon. The Marwari, a breed descending from native Indian ponies crossed with Arabian horses, is from the Marwar (or Jodhpur) region of India, known for its hardiness and its inward-turning ear tips. Photo: Brooke USA
As world-leading experts in equine welfare with a combined geographic reach covering the major populations of the world’s working equines, the four charities will provide a unique resource.
The coalition’s goal is to share a wealth of professional expertise and technical know-how by jointly developing training resources and working with governments, academics, communities and professionals to help put the standards into practice within the contexts of different countries, cultures, and economies.
Geoffrey Dennis, Chief Executive of SPANA (Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad), said, “It is very encouraging that there is now international recognition for the working equines that play a fundamental role in supporting the livelihoods of millions of families worldwide.
“Through veterinary treatment, education and training for animal owners, SPANA works to improve the welfare of these vitally important horses, donkeys and mules across many countries. We are looking forward to working in partnership to ensure that the new standards are translated into practical support and action that makes a tangible difference to working animals and the communities that depend on them.”
A thin Marwari horse rests with a load of bricks. Note the open sore in the girth area. Photo: Brooke USA
This exhausted donkey in Pakistan has collapsed. Photo: Brooke USA
The coalition’s work will use the skills the four organisations have in welfare assessment training, building capacity in equine owning communities, and equipping service providers (including farriers, saddlers and vets) with the skills and tools required to provide affordable quality services. It supports universities in curriculum development, and postgraduate vets with continuing professional development, as well as raising awareness of the importance of working equids to human livelihoods with policy makers.
Mike Baker, CEO of The Donkey Sanctuary, said "This is a fantastic milestone in global equine welfare standards. Our new coalition will really maximise welfare improvements as we share our skills, resources and experience.
“Millions of donkeys, horses and mules work extremely hard every day and it will be wonderful to highlight how vital they are for their human owners and communities.”
A brick kiln donkey in India. Photo: Brooke USA
Overloaded horses. Note the left foreleg of the horse in front. Photo: Brooke USA
This video from The Brooke USA shows animals working in brick kilns, coal mines and in construction in poor countries around the world:
Video concept, camera, edit: Ahmad Omer Chaudhry, (c) 2017, firstname.lastname@example.org
Main Photo: A woman with an overloaded horse in brick kiln. Photo by Freya Dowson, www.BrookeUSA.org.