At present it is not widely recognised that the better a farmer, family or community looks after their horse, mule or donkey, the more productive they will be.
An estimated 112 million equines are working animals central to the livelihoods of millions of people around the world. Good equine welfare and economic development should be mutually reinforcing, but this is not generally accepted.
Adequate respect, welfare and health provisions can enhance the quality of life of these animals, and ensure their continued value to communities and their productivity.
The Donkey Sanctuary and World Horse Welfare’s 2017 report Sustainable Development Goals: How the welfare of working equids delivers for development demonstrates that working equines are core in achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
The main SDGs linked to the welfare of working equids are:
SDG 1: No poverty & SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth
Working equids increase the income of poor communities, by enabling individuals to have a professional activity, including in the tourism sector.
SDG 2: Zero Hunger & SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
Working equids allow poor communities to have access to resources such as food and clean water.
SDG 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages
OneHealth concept: the health of animals is tightly connected to the health of animals. Due to their proximity with humans, working equids can easily transmit zoonosis if infected.
SDG 13: Climate Action
Working equids play an important role in recovery after a climate change event by providing their communities with resources.
SDG 4: Quality Education & SDG 5: Gender Equality
Working equids help empower children and women by lessening their work and allowing them to receive an education.
SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities & SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
Working equids also represent a sustainable and pollution-free means of transport/work and should be protected as such.