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SPANA Launches New Strategy To Transform Working Animal Welfare As The Charity’s Centenary Year Begins

10 months ago

30th January, 2023 11h47


Global animal charity SPANA (the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad) has launched its new organisational strategy, Transforming the Lives of Working Animals: SPANA Strategy 2023-27. This outlines the charity’s ambitious plans for the next five years and its aim to support the welfare of more working animals than ever before. 

100 years on from SPANA’s foundation in 1923, the new strategy sets out how the charity will improve the welfare of working horses, donkeys, camels, mules, elephants and other working animals across the world, at a time when these animals face challenges on an unprecedented level.  

These challenges include rising global poverty and inequality, which are leaving owners struggling to care for, feed and even keep their animals. Other risks, such as increasing political and economic instability and zoonotic diseases, and direct threats to certain species like the global donkey skins trade, are creating further challenges for working animals. The ongoing impact of climate change is also proving increasingly difficult on communities that rely on working animals for their livelihoods. 

SPANA’s new strategy has three core goals: 

To improve the quality of life for working animals globally, at a greater scale than ever before; 

To ensure the contribution working animals make to people across the world is recognised and valued; 

To ensure that the world of working animals thrives and grows sustainably, as part of the nexus of animals, people and the environment. 

In pursuing these three core goals, the charity will also work to build its reputation as a pioneering, modern and truly global organisation; a proven project partner; and an exemplar in safeguarding and governance. 

SPANA’s strategy for 2023-27 will be driven by the charity’s updated mission and vision. SPANA’s mission is to transform the welfare of working animals in a world where animals, people and the environment are respected and thrive. The charity’s vision is a world where every working animal lives a healthy and valued life. 

Globally, more than 200 million working animals have a key role in the day-to-day existence and survival of many communities across the globe. Transporting goods, food, water and firewood and supporting agricultural production, these animals support the livelihoods of more than half a billion people. However, many working animals face tough conditions and endure poor welfare, often lacking access to fresh water, adequate nutrition, rest, shelter and essential veterinary care. 

Linda Edwards, Chief Executive of SPANA, said: ‘100 years since the formation of SPANA, we face challenges and problems that are more complex than ever before, and life for working animals has never been more perilous. A multitude of threats to working animal welfare means demand for our work is greater than ever. 

‘SPANA’s strategy for 2023-27 outlines how we will rise to these significant challenges and evolve our work. It outlines our ambitions to develop and expand our core activities and operating model. Historically, SPANA’s focus has been on ensuring the treatment of working animals in need, while seeking longer-term changes in animal welfare through the training of owners in animal care and the teaching of children in animal welfare. That will remain the foundation of our work. But as we continue to Treat, Train and Teach, we will also seek to Transform – through innovative new activities and strategic partnerships designed to transform the welfare of working animals, in a world where animals, people and the environment are respected and thrive.  

‘Our new strategy will involve scaling our impact while maintaining quality delivery; demonstrating greater value for money; and using evidence to influence globally – all while improving the resilience and wellbeing of working animals and the people who depend upon them. Above all, our strategy will enable SPANA to deliver a lasting transformation in the lives of working animals across the world.’ 

SPANA’s new strategy was launched during a special preview at the House of Lords in London in January 2023, in an event that also marked the official start of SPANA’s centenary year. SPANA’s Chief Executive Linda Edwards unveiled the charity’s plans alongside other key speakers, who included SPANA Mali Country Director, Dr Amadou Doumbia, and SPANA Ethiopia Country Director, Teferi Abebe Kidane, plus SPANA’s President, Lord de Mauley. Along with other special guests, Ambassadors and partners, the event was also attended by Arti Kumar MBE, the niece of SPANA’s co-founder, Nina Hosali, who established the charity with her mother, Kate, in 1923. 

SPANA’s new strategy for 2023-27 is the subject of a new short film narrated by the charity’s Patron John Craven. To watch, and embed, the film, visit

SPANA is the world’s longest-running charity dedicated to supporting global working animal welfare. In 2021, SPANA worked across 28 countries and directly supported the welfare of more than 291,000 working animals. 

Find out more about SPANA’s new strategy and the charity’s work helping working animals across the world by visiting

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