Invisible Workers research project

This report is part of our policy and research to increase knowledge of the links between working equine welfare and human welfare. It focuses on the economic contributions of working horses, mules and donkeys to household incomes and aims to highlight to policymakers that these animals are financially benefiting their owners.

There are approximately 100 million working horses, mules and donkeys in developing countries. They support people’s livelihoods in a wide range of sectors including agriculture, construction, tourism, mining and public transport.

It's estimated that working equine animals help around 600 million people globally, very often in poor and marginalised communities. These animals provide a critical support system to the households that rely on them. One pillar of this support system is the money they generate - directly and indirectly - and the savings their owners make by using them.

However, an incomplete understanding of their role means that they remain neglected or ignored in relevant global, regional and national policy and programming, including livestock


Download the full report and an infographic that shows the many ways in which working equines contribute to people's livelihoods.

Note: the figure of 112 million working animals, provided by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) 2014, refers to all horses, donkeys and mules in the world, including sports and pleasure horses. The number in developing countries is estimated at approximately 100 million.