Help For the Worlds Poorest Horses [Video]
 By Winniefield Park   •   26th Oct 2015   •   1,809 views   •   0 comments

In a world dominated by cars, trucks, trains and planes, we sometimes forget that a great number of the world’s human population still rely on the domestic horse and its close relatives for transportation. But, of the world’s 100 million+ equines, the majority of them are still used as beasts of burden, carrying or hauling humans and cargo in some of the poorest countries in the world. And often they suffer from overwork, injury, malnutrition and unintentional neglect. In many ways, their lives and suffering reflect that of their owners, who also struggle to survive.

Commonly, working equids suffer from poor food and shelter, overwork by going too fast in difficult footing, carrying or hauling oversized loads, little health care, poorly designed and constructed harnesses, outmoded and sometimes dangerous methods of gelding, wound treatment and deworming, subject to climate extremes, and no protection from common diseases that are easily prevented with vaccines.

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This was brought home to me by an acquaintance who regularly travels to Africa, and packs spare spaces in their luggage with veterinary supplies intended for a donkey hospital. This is an opportunity not many of us get. And I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to explain to officials that all that stuff was needed to treat my own arthritis. Thankfully, there are many organizations that are working to improve the lot of working donkeys, mules and horses. And, by improving life for these animals, they also improve the lives of the people who rely on them.

One such organization is called The Brooke. Named after its founder, Dorothy Brooke, who in 1934 established a hospital for ex-war horses in Cairo, Egypt, The Brooke is helping equids and people. The war horses, when their service was over, were used as beasts of burden, and subject to starvation and overwork. Even after the old war horses were gone, the hospital continued to provide free veterinary care for all working equids in the city. Today, The Brooke provides training, veterinary care, research and advocacy to aid working horses, donkeys and mules in ten countries on two continents.

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Another organization that offers help is World Horse Welfare. This organization operates in the U.K. and internationally. Not only does it promote responsible equine welfare at home, it also works in ten of the world’s poorest countries. Part of their work involves ensuring that governments are aware of the plight of working animals, and that an increase in the health of these animals also benefits the people who must rely on them. They promote responsible tourism, train local farriers, saddle makers and others who can provide important services to owners of working equids, provide disease control, teach healthy management practices, and provide aid to countries where natural disasters have occurred.

Should you wish to learn more, donate or become involved here are more international organizations committed to the welfare of the world's poorest horses: [a directory of animal welfare organizations]
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