A number of UK equine welfare charities have united to put welfare policy into practice across the globe.

Horse in field
The charities have joined forces to support the first ever global welfare standards for working horses, donkeys and mules. IMAGE: Fotolia/Nadezhda.

Brooke, The Donkey Sanctuary, Society For The Protection Of Animals Abroad (SPANA) and World Horse Welfare have formed a coalition that aims to advise, motivate and support the implementation of the first ever global welfare standards for working horses, donkeys and mules.

It is the first time all four major charities have formally joined forces.

Landmark changes

The standards were approved by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) in 2016 following advocacy and technical support from Brooke and World Horse Welfare.

Although not law, these landmark changes give legitimacy to calls for equine welfare to be improved around the world, the charities say.

Petra Ingram, CEO at Brooke, who spearheaded the formation of the coalition and will be its chair for the first year, believes it’s the right vehicle to bring the standards to life.

She said: “A respected champion of change can be the difference between success and failure when it comes to implementation.

“Our message to countries is ‘let us help; equine welfare is an ally of humanitarian issues’.”

Joint goals

The coalition’s goal, it said, is to share professional expertise and technical know-how by:

  • jointly developing training resources
  • working with governments, academics, communities and professionals to help put the standards into practice within the contexts of different countries, cultures and economies

The charities said they will use their skills to conduct a range of tasks including building capacity in equine-owning communities and equipping service providers – including farriers, saddlers and vets – with the skills and tools required to provide affordable quality services.

CEO of The Donkey Sanctuary Mike Baker said: “This is a fantastic milestone in global equine welfare standards.

“Our new coalition will really maximise welfare improvements as we share our skills, resources and experience.

“Millions of donkeys, horses and mules work extremely hard every day and it will be wonderful to highlight how vital they are for their human owners and communities.”

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