Relief to horses who are helping communities to rebuild Haiti


An international horse charity and all-animal protection organisation have teamed up to help the horses – and communities of Haiti.

World Horse Welfare in Haiti

Over the past four years the people of Haiti have been recovering from the disastrous earthquake that devastated the lives of three million people, in which half the population lost their homes, 300,000 were injured and an estimated 220,000 died.

Since 2010, when disaster struck, the working equid population, made up of horses, ponies, donkeys and mules have been taking on a range of roles that are vitally important to Haitian communities.

“Working equids are being used to transport goods to market and to transport building materials as the work of rebuilding Haiti’s property and roads continues.

“These horses also play a direct role in the welfare of many families who rely on them to make a living,” says Liam Maguire, Director of International at World Horse Welfare – the horse charity who will be undertaking a new and much-needed project in the under-developed region alongside Humane Society International.

Haiti is the poorest nation in the western hemisphere, a place where 80% of its population lives below the international poverty line of just $2 a day.

“Perhaps the suffering of the horses in this country can be understood when there is so much human suffering alongside them, and so few of even the basics like school and healthcare,” says Liam.

A large proportion of working equids in Haiti work long hours carrying poorly made pack saddles that are often overloaded, causing pressure sores and wounds on the withers and back that are unable to heal and prone to infection.Haiti image

“We need to utilise our charity resources and our specialist skills to help these horses by first understanding the root causes of the issues that affect them, and then working with local communities to achieve an improved and sustainable level of horse welfare. As we help the people of Haiti to better tend to their most important asset we will have a direct influence on human welfare too.”

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 reduced. Most have a poor diet and do not have access to enough water that is safe to drink; as a result so many are under nourished and in poor condition.

World Horse Welfare is asking its supporters to donate what they can to help the charity continue to fund this project providing professional and urgent aid to these horses.

“The thousands of horses and donkeys that work tirelessly everyday as the labor, and transport, for people in Haiti have no access to vital veterinary care. This exciting program that we are very happy to be working on with World Horse Welfare will not only treat equines to alleviate their suffering, but teach local owners how to properly care for their animals and train local veterinarians in equine veterinary science. Increasing the quality of life for these animals is our goal, but strengthening the human-animal bond will be an inevitable result,” says Kelly O’Meara, Director of Companion Animals and Engagement at Humane Society International.

“World Horse Welfare will demonstrate to owners the benefits of working with a healthy horse, and with a network of skilled people in place in the community, this can be sustained. The long term aim of each community-based project is to show that by establishing the appropriate skills and knowledge within a community, the benefits are felt by working horses and in turn, the people who depend upon them,” ends Liam.

Please help World Horse Welfare to fund this project so that it can offer urgent aid to the horses of Haiti.

You can find out more about World Horse Welfare's international work.

Don't forget that this year World Horse Welfare will be hosting The 7th International Colloquium on Working Equids at the Royal Holloway at the University of London on 1-3 July 2014.

This event will be an essential forum for those who want to improve the welfare of the 100 million working horses, ponies, donkeys and mules around the world – as well as those seeking to improve livelihoods in communities that depend on them.