International Working Animal Day Highlights The Lifetime Of Work Facing Animals Overseas
- Fourth annual awareness day aims to put the spotlight on the plight of working animals in developing countries, which never get to retire
- Paul O’Grady and Deborah Meaden pledge their support for these hardworking animals
Animal welfare charity SPANA is highlighting the lifetime of work facing working animals in developing countries throughout the world, to mark the fourth annual International Working animal Day (15 June).
Around the world, more than 200 million working horses, donkeys, camels, elephants and other animals do the jobs of trucks, tractors and taxis. By transporting goods and people, they make it possible for over half a billion people in the poorest communities to earn a small income.
However, like their owners, working animals must work for their entire lives, and never get to have holidays or retire. They often face punishing conditions, pulling heavy loads for many hours in sweltering temperatures, without vital veterinary treatment. But SPANA believes a life of work shouldn’t mean a life of suffering.
SPANA is working to improve the lives of working animals throughout the world. The charity provides free veterinary care to sick and injured animals, as well as improving animal welfare by training animal owners in local communities and providing humane education to schoolchildren. However, the vast number of working animals globally means that there are still millions that currently have no form of veterinary treatment available to them.
Awareness of the plight of working animals is also still very low in the UK. New research shows that 62 per cent of people have never even heard the term ‘working animal’ before.
Deborah Meaden, who is supporting the campaign, said: ‘Workplaces in Britain have changed beyond recognition in the past few decades – and conditions for workers have generally improved enormously. But for most working animals overseas nothing ever changes. They face the same punishing conditions day-in, day-out, working in extreme temperatures and carrying backbreaking loads.
‘On International Working Animal Day, please support SPANA’s work to ensure these hardworking horses, donkeys, elephants and camels receive the vital veterinary treatment they need and that their welfare is improved.’
Paul O’Grady added: ‘It breaks my heart to see how hard horses, donkeys, mules and camels have to work around the world, pulling carts and carrying heavy loads. Despite how important they are, many will lead short, painful lives. Hardly any receive even basic vet care when they’re sick or injured, as it’s often not available and their owners simply can’t afford it. They deserve better.
‘That’s why I support SPANA, the charity that gets free lifesaving vet care to working animals. Today I’m asking you to join me in backing SPANA’s International Working Animal Day. We need governments and aid organisations around the world to recognise the massive contribution of working animals and to make sure they get the treatment, care and compassion they deserve.’
Please show your support for these hardworking animals on International Working Animal Day and visit www.spana.org/iwad.
To watch a new video showing the lifetime of work facing three donkeys and their owner in Zimbabwe, and how their lives compare, please visit the following link.
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