The charity SPANA is working in some of the poorest countries to improve the welfare of animals which work, often in hard conditions.
It’s odd to think from our homes in Britain, where working animals have now almost entirely disappeared from daily life, that in other corners of the world, many animals still work day-in, day-out.In these poor communities, working animals do the jobs of tractors, trucks and taxis, transporting people, food, water and firewood. Countless families rely on these animals for their livelihoods and sometimes even their survival.
There are thought to be more than 200 million working animals around the world, mainly horses, donkeys, camels, mules, elephants and oxen. They often work in challenging conditions, facing extreme temperatures, with little food, water or rest. While in an ideal world no animal should have to work, these animals are currently the backbone of many poor societies and, in fact, half of the world’s population relies on such animals as their main source of power.These animals play a crucial role in people’s lives and the charity SPANA believes that every working animal should be given the best care and be able to live a life free from suffering.
SPANA (the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad) was set up in 1923 by British mother and daughter Kate and Nina Hosali after they were horrified by the conditions of working animals they saw in northern Africa. Today, SPANA directly helps hundreds of thousands of sick and injured animals every year, as well as championing and protecting the welfare of millions more working animals globally.
Working in nine core countries, including Botswana, Ethiopia, Morocco and Tunisia, SPANA provides completely free veterinary care to working animals that become unwell or injured. In fact, last year they provided more than 350,000 free veterinary treatments, saving the lives of huge numbers of animals that would otherwise go untreated.
By keeping animals healthy, SPANA knows they’ll also make a difference to the communities who rely on them to work in order to survive. That’s why the charity also reaches out to the local people, training new vet professionals who’ll go on to become lifesavers, as well as giving the owners of these working animals the knowledge and tools to better look after their animals.
And with the hope of bringing about dramatic change in the years to come, another aspect of SPANA’s work is to teach schoolchildren in these areas to develop respect and kindness for their four-legged companions, so that the animal owners of the future know how to give their animals the care and compassion they deserve.
HOW YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
- If you enjoy knitting why not knit a Duncan the Donkey, Hattie the Horse or Emma the Elephant, using a free pattern and help raise funds for SPANA. To order the patterns call 020 78313999 or visit spana.org/knit