Working to improve the lives of equids and their owners in Haiti
Haiti is the poorest nation in the western hemisphere and in recent years has been severely hit by natural disasters and political instability. 80% of Haiti’s population lives below the international poverty line of $2 a day, and 54% are defined as living in abject poverty surviving on just $1.25.
World Horse Welfare has been working in Haiti since 2013 and helped to create local animal welfare organisation Quatre Pattes, who it now offically partners with to deliver a community-based equine welfare programme.
The working equine population is made up of roughly equal proportions of horses, ponies, donkeys and mules, taking on a range of roles that are vitally important in Haitian communities. They are used to transport goods to market and to transport building materials as the work of rebuilding property and roads continues. Working horses play a direct role in the welfare of many families who rely on them to make a living.
A large proportion of working equids have a poor diet and do not have access to enough water that is fit to drink. As a result, many are malnourished and have a poor body condition. They work long hours carrying poorly made pack saddles that are often overloaded, causing pressure sores and wounds on the withers and back which are unable to heal and are prone to infection. Pack saddles are made from materials that are ill-suited to the job and to the health of the working animal.
A team from World Horse Welfare identified working equid communities that need immediate help and support to be the initial focus of the project. Community Based Equine Advisors (CBEAs) have been identified in each community and they have been trained in hoof care, husbandry and basic wound management. Our CBEAs also recieve on going support to enable these individuals to be able to educate their wider community and reach even more horses, donekys and mules.
There is little veterinary care available for working horses in Haiti, most work focuses on farm or livestock animals. General knowledge of proper veterinary care for horses is severely lacking and owners receive little to no instruction on how to care for their animals.
As a result of these factors working horses continue to work in pain caused by wounds, long term muscular-skeletal conditions and damaged feet. Their quality of life is poor and life-expectancy is reduced.
World Horse Welfare initally set-up a partnership with Humane Society International (HSI) to establish a community based projects to improve the welfare of working horses in Haiti. Find out more about our partnership with HSI here.