Take a closer look
Nepal is one of the world's poorest countries, where working horses, mules and donkeys play an important role in supporting the livelihoods of many of its communities.
In the hilly districts of Nepal equines are used for riding and for transporting goods by pack, while in the plains they transport people and produce by cart. Equines are also used in brick kilns to carry heavy loads of bricks over long distances.
The main issues faced by equines in Nepal are wounds, lameness, colic, general injuries, diseases and a lack of access to appropriate feed, water, shelter and vaccinations. Most equid-owners are poor and marginalized, struggling to fulfil their most basic needs. The welfare status of the animals is poor in all areas, but is worst in the brick kilns: a gruelling industry for both animals and people.
The country has gone through some significant changes since 2015 when the new Constitution of Nepal was promulgated. This has resulted in changes within the structure of government at local levels, which can affect the understanding and application of the Animal Welfare Law 2016. Whilst there is an animal health system of both government and private veterinary practitioners, it is relatively weak and focused on livestock species such as goats, cattle and poultry. Access to the right kinds of equine-specific medicines is a problem.
Since 2020, the country has been severely impacted by COVID-19, its people struggling in the face of lost earnings and lack of healthcare provisions.