The following is an article from the Horse.
Four charities joined forces to promote global working equid welfare standards adopted this year by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
The standards—which entitle working donkeys, horses, and mules to basic needs such as food, water, and shelter—have been welcomed as a milestone in improving equine welfare. However, they are not the law. To help governments implement the standards, technical experts from The Donkey Sanctuary, The Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad (SPANA), World Horse Welfare, and the Brooke Action for Working Horses and Donkeys had a joint poster displayed at the 4th OIE Global Conference on Animal Welfare in Mexico. The event, which took place Dec. 6-8, hosted policymakers from 180 member states around the globe.
The charities used the posted to promote their message of collaboration and how they can offer assistance to help implement the standards by assessing welfare; equipping service providers like farriers, saddlers, and veterinarians; and helping develop tertiary education.
“This is a great opportunity to work together as a sector to improve the welfare of millions of working equids,” said Karen O’Malley, BSc, World Horse Welfare head of international program development. “The OIE standard is a positive and important step in helping working equids to become visible to policymakers and we will continue to support national government initiatives to make this standard a reality in many countries around the world.”
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Karen Reed, BVetMed, MSc, MRCVS, head of animal welfare capacity at the Brooke agreed: “Brooke supported the OIE in developing the working equine welfare standards, and we were delighted to see them adopted. Of course, the challenge now is to implement them. We’re pleased to be working with likeminded organizations to support the OIE and their member states to make this happen. As well as working with policymakers, it’s very important to work directly with the communities that rely on horses, donkeys, and mules, and empower local vets and farriers. We specialize in building capacity so that these people can become self-sufficient animal welfare advocates.”
Added Stephen Blakeway, BA, VetMB, MSc, PGCE, MRCVS, director of international operations at The Donkey Sanctuary, “There is no longer any excuse for donkeys, mules, and horses to be invisible. Now we can all align our work to the standards and provide strong case studies showing how improved welfare benefits donkeys and people socially and economically.”
Francesca Compostella, DVM, MRCVS, director of veterinary programs at SPANA, added, “We’re pleased to be working in partnership with other organizations to assist the OIE in implementing the working equine standards. This document represents a momentous milestone that gives international recognition to the working horses, donkeys, and mules that play a fundamental role in guaranteeing the livelihoods of millions of families worldwide. With close collaboration and cooperation, we look forward to working with policymakers, equine owning communities, vets, and other professionals to facilitate the successful implementation of such standards. Thanks to the OIE, we now have an invaluable tool to achieve widespread, lasting change to the welfare of working equids around the world.”