SPANA (the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad) has been the charity for the working animals of the world since 1923, transforming the lives of horses, donkeys, mules, elephants and camels in need. The charity improves the welfare of working animals by providing vital veterinary treatment, training owners in animal care and teaching children about animal welfare. Last year, SPANA provided lifesaving care to more than 291,000 sick and injured animals in 28 low-income countries across the world.
Our film, International Working Animal Day 2022, was launched to raise awareness about the vital role of working animals in people’s everyday lives – both for families in the world’s poorest communities, and those in the UK and other wealthier nations.
Globally, an estimated 200 million working animals support the livelihoods of people in low-income countries. By ploughing fields and transporting food, water, goods and firewood, they make it possible for many living in poverty-stricken communities to earn a small income and survive.
But the impact of these animals spans well beyond the countries where they work. In Western countries, many everyday products we enjoy – from tea and coffee to chocolate, sugar and flowers – start the journey to our homes via the back of a working animal. From Costa Rica to Ethiopia, many animals are involved in transporting agricultural produce in small farms, fields and plantations.
Yet, despite their vital role, this invisible workforce is almost completely overlooked. Most people are unaware that working animals often help produce the daily items we take for granted in our shops and supermarkets. These animals often lead short, hard lives, working in extreme conditions, with little rest, poor nutrition and no access to essential veterinary treatment. SPANA believes that these animals deserve greater respect and recognition. And, more importantly, they need our help.
We align with the following UN Sustainable Development Goals: