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Donkeys in Ethiopia - SPANA

Donkeys in Ethiopia - SPANA


2 years ago

19th November, 2020 12h50


On its fifth annual International Working Animal Day (19 November), animal charity SPANA (the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad) is raising awareness about the essential role played by working animals in developing countries around the world.

Working animals – such as horses, donkeys, camels and elephants – are the key workers of the developing world. More than 200 million working animals support the livelihoods of over 600 million people in the world’s poorest communities. These hardworking animals provide the food, water and transport developing communities need to survive and also make it possible for impoverished families to earn a small income and put food on the table.

Yet, despite their critically important role, this invisible workforce all too often remains overlooked and neglected. Countless animals lead short, hard lives, working in extreme conditions, with little rest, poor nutrition and no access to veterinary treatment. And new research shows that 40 per cent of people in the UK have not even heard the term ‘working animal’ before.*

Geoffrey Dennis, Chief Executive of SPANA, said: ‘In many developing countries, working animals are essentially key workers – performing vital roles and working tirelessly every single day. They do the jobs of trucks, tractors and taxis, and support the poorest families by carrying food, water and firewood. But, sadly, they are often almost entirely ignored, without the recognition and support they urgently need.

‘Their importance is indisputable – just one working animal can support an extended family of up to 30 people. However, too many of these animals face poor welfare, dangerous conditions and have no access to veterinary care.

‘SPANA works to improve the lives of working animals around the world, ensuring they can receive the veterinary attention they need. The charity also provides education and training for communities to teach them how to better look after their animals.’

John Craven OBE, FLS, Patron of SPANA, said: ‘This year’s International Working Animal Day celebrates the animals who are key workers in the developing world: the horses, donkeys, camels and elephants who provide poverty-stricken families with the water, food supplies and transport they so desperately need. These loyal animals work tirelessly and without complaint to ensure the survival of their communities.

‘For thousands of working animals in developing communities, SPANA provides their only hope for vital veterinary treatment. Please support SPANA to ensure that even more working animals are given the respect and care they deserve.’

Last year, SPANA provided free veterinary treatment to more than 388,000 sick and injured working animals around the world. The charity also delivered humane education to almost 77,000 schoolchildren – the animal owners of tomorrow – helping them to develop positive attitudes and empathy towards animals.

To help SPANA support this essential workforce on International Working Animal Day, please visit

* Survey of 2,000 UK adults, conducted 19-21 October 2020 by OnePoll.

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