The vital role of working animals in people's lives
The welfare of working horses, donkeys and mules the world over is an overlooked - yet crucial - part of keeping families out of extreme poverty. It’s time to take note.
The money earned by each working animal can support between five and 20 family members.
Through our front line work we have developed a deep understanding of the link between the welfare of working animals and sustainable human livelihoods.
Our research has shown time and again that working animals support entire communities and are - more often than not - either the sole or main source of income. In developing countries the money earned by each working animal can support between five and 20 family members. It's income earned from working donkeys, mules and horses that help a family pay school fees and healthcare bills.
Empowerment for women
Our research also tells us that owning a working animal is a major source of empowerment for women in terms of being freed from daily subsistence chores, and their wider status among the community.
We believe the welfare of working animals should be a much higher priority for governments and international development organisations.
Taken as a whole, it's why we believe the welfare of working animals should be a much higher priority for governments and international development organisations committed to the eradication of extreme poverty.
Because when a poorly looked-after working donkey, mule or horse falls sick or dies prematurely, an entire family suddenly loses a major – if not main – source of income. It means the family risks indebtedness by having to borrow money as schools fees and healthcare become unaffordable. Rural women and children are the hardest hit as mothers are also forced to take on the time-consuming burden of collecting water for drinking and fuel for cooking.
Given around 80 percent of animal suffering is preventable, we believe that well-fed and looked after working donkeys, mules and horses are central to keeping hundreds of millions of people out of extreme poverty.
We launched an ambitious global strategy in April 2016 which sets out our priorities and plans for the next five years.
In order to sustainably improve equine welfare we recognise the complex interaction between the equine, the equine owning communities, and the system within which they co-exist.