International equine welfare projects adapt to protect horses through the pandemic
With projects in 16 countries across Latin America, Asia and Africa, WHW has been working through local partners to deliver horse care knowledge to communities who rely on working horses for their livelihoods, and provide practical training to vets, farriers, saddlers and others to help raise standards and improve availability of equine care. Working in partnership with universities, government agencies and other charities, they work to have the too often invisible equines included in government policies and on veterinary curricula.
Project countries are in various states of emergency and each has some form of lock-down due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, which is having a significant knock-on effect on the horse-owning communities. Many people are experiencing a loss of income brought about by the closure of business and industry. Without earnings, it is likely that many families – and their animals – will suffer.
Unlike in the UK, many countries in which we work will be unable to offer government income support and many equine owners operate within informal economies, so there is a desperate need for support.
World Horse Welfare has fist focused on issues like providing food for the animals, provide subsidised feed and bedding to owners in some countries. Big part of the work has gone to liaise with local municipalities to include the equine-owning communities in their lists of those to receive basic emergency food supplies.
The situation in each country is being closely monitored so that WHW teams can get back into the field and directly help working horse owners as soon as possible. This includes the ongoing equine welfare issues, such as the concerning outbreak of African Horse Sickness in Thailand.