U.K. equine welfare charities Brooke, The Donkey Sanctuary, SPANA and World Horse Welfare today announce their first formal coalition. 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 Organisation 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. Petra Ingram, CEO at Brooke, 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: "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 recognising 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.”
As world-leading experts in equine welfare with a combined geographic reach covering the major populations of the world’s working equines, the four UK-based 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, 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.”
The coalition’s work will use the skills the four organisations have in welfare assessment training; building capacity in equine owning communities; 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.”
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Notes to Editor
Brooke is an international charity that protects and improves the lives of working horses, donkeys and mules which give people in the developing world the opportunity to work their way out of poverty. Over 100 million of these animals are the backbone of developing communities and their best means of making a living. Without healthy working horses, donkeys and mules, around 600 million people wouldn’t be able to put food on their tables, send their children to school or build better futures for themselves and their families.
Brooke delivers significant and lasting change, even in some of the world’s most challenging areas. We use our expertise to work with owners, communities, service providers, governments and international organisations. Operating in 11 different countries, and funding projects in four others, Brooke now reaches over two million working horses, donkeys and mules each year.
Brooke was set up in 1934 by Dorothy Brooke, the wife of a British cavalry officer, who travelled to Cairo in Egypt in 1930 to seek out the abandoned war horses of the First World War. She set up the Old War Horse Memorial Hospital, which later became Brooke.
The Donkey Sanctuary
The Donkey Sanctuary was founded by the late Dr Elisabeth Svendsen M.B.E. in 1969. We support projects to alleviate the suffering of donkeys in 35 countries worldwide, including sanctuaries across Europe, where more than 18,800 donkeys and mules have been cared for, and major projects in Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Kenya and Mexico, where donkey welfare is improved through community education and veterinary work. We also provide donkey assisted interaction sessions for vulnerable children and adults and carry out visits to care homes in the local community from our centres in Belfast, Birmingham, Ivybridge, Leeds, Manchester and Sidmouth.
For further information telephone: 01395 578222, view www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk or visit the charity’s headquarters near Sidmouth in Devon (open 365 days/free admission).
SPANA has been the charity for the working animals of the world since 1923, providing free veterinary care to horses, donkeys, mules and other animals in some of the world’s poorest countries. The charity improves the welfare of working animals in three ways: free veterinary treatment, education and training, and emergency and outreach projects. www.spana.org
World Horse Welfare:
World Horse Welfare (Registered charity no: 206658 and SC038384), is an international horse charity that improves the lives of horses in the UK and worldwide through education, campaigning and hands-on care of horses. Since we were founded in 1927, our whole approach has been practical, based on scientific evidence and our extensive experience, and focused on delivering lasting change across the full spectrum of the horse world.
In the UK our dedicated network of Field Officers investigate and resolve welfare problems, and we run four Rescue and Rehoming Centres where horses in need can receive specialist care, undergo rehabilitation and find loving new homes through our rehoming scheme – the largest of its kind in the UK. Our international programmes alleviate the suffering of thousands of working horses by providing essential knowledge for horse owning communities in the developing world. We also work tirelessly to change legislation and attitudes to horse welfare through campaigns and education, including our founding campaign to end the suffering endured by the tens of thousands of horses transported long-distance across Europe to slaughter each year. We support the responsible use of horses in sport, and are independent welfare advisers to the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) and British Horseracing Authority (BHA). www.worldhorsewelfare.org
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