Working to improve equine husbandry and welfare in Senegal
Located in West Africa, Senegal as in many parts of the continent, relies on horsepower to support the livelihoods of millions of its people. For many working with their horse or donkey is an essential part of daily life. The country is home to more than 500,000 horses, many of which are used to transport locals, tourists, goods and materials through the busy streets.
World Horse Welfare has been working in Senegal since 2009, and over the years have adapted and widened our approach allowing us to reach many more horses and donkeys, and importantly help hundreds of families secure their future. Our aim is to bring about a sustainable improvement to working equid welfare across the country. We work through community projects in the Dakar region, but more and more we are expanding our reach; towards the end of 2017 we signed an MOU with the FAO in Senegal to support the equid welfare training within one of their projects.
In Rufisque, a town just outside Dakar, we work directly with horse owners to improve their knowledge and understanding of how to correctly care for their horse or donkey. The vast majority of owners care deeply about their work companion but often do not know the best way to ensure their health and welfare is maintained. Through our close relationship with horse and donkey owning communities we have already made improvements to the living conditions and nutrition of the equids. Many of the owners we work with now use farriery services frequently, therefore improving foot condition and reducing lameness problems in their equids. We will look to expand this community approach in other towns in collaboration with local associations in these areas, who already have a good understanding of the local context.
Foot problems are evident among the working horse population, primarily caused by traditional shoeing practices. World Horse Welfare, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, and Brooke offers training opportunities to many of these traditional farriers allowing them to develop their skills and build upon the knowledge that has been handed down through generations of farriers.
We work closely with the veterinary department at the EISMV-University of Dakar, a regional university providing veterinary education to students from across 15 African countries, We take them into the communities to gain practical experience and support the student animal welfare club; an group of enthusiastic students who will hopefully be the advocates for animal welfare across the African countries in the future