It is widely acknowledged that the essential role of working equids is not fully understood and as such they are often excluded from livestock policy, government agendas and country strategies. Unfortunately, working equids are so often overlooked by those best placed to make the decisions that would protect their welfare as well sustain the livelihoods of the families that depend upon them.
As part of World Horse Welfare's approach to raise the profile of working equids, links have been strengthened with regional, national and international governments and institutions, including the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and the European Commission.
Through our membership of the International Coalition of Animal Welfare, World Horse Welfare has successfully influenced global standards specifically relating to the welfare of working horses, donkeys and mules. Having been involved with the consultation process since 2014, it is a positive step forward that the standards will be incorporated within the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code, a code which sets out standards for the improvement of animal health and welfare and veterinary public health worldwide.
In collaboration with our local partner organisations, World Horse Welfare’s next steps will be to create practical guidance and provide training to support national government initiatives to help make these welfare standards a reality in the countries where we work in Africa, Latin America and Asia.
Through our membership of Eurogroup for Animals, positive relationships have been established at the European Commission with the Cabinet of Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development and Directorate General for Health and Food Safety, with whom we continue to explore areas of collaboration.