Better lives for global working equines

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The World Organisation for Animal Health has announced new standards of welfare for the working horses, donkeys and mules.

The new standards

International charity Brooke has worked continuously with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) to improve the welfare of the working horses.

The set of standards will operate in 180 countries worldwide ensuring guidelines are met on various aspects of the animal’s lives.

The recommendations include providing food and water, shelter, preventing and treating disease, handling, behaviour and general workload.

Extensions have also been put in place to care for the horses, donkeys and mules at the end of their working lives.

The standards, which were approved on 25 May in Paris, will not be law. However Brooke will be ensuring the rules are implemented and understood properly.

No longer invisible

Once overlooked by governments and policy makers, the new welfare standards have received much praise from its campaigning charity.

Karen Reed, Head of Animal Welfare Capacity at Brooke, was a key figure in developing the new regulations.

“At Brooke we often say that the horses, donkeys and mules of the world are the invisible workers, because in terms of their welfare, there is little being done at a government or international level,” she said.

The working equines help people all across the world and Fred Ochieng who is head of Brooke in East Africa, welcomes the new welfare standards.

“Here, when you sit down to breakfast each morning, the bread or the coffee you have has probably at some point been transported by a working horse or donkey.

“That is how useful these animals are and the reason why we must all care and protect them,” he said.