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Working horses

Pack mules on a mountain trail, Argentina

Working horses, donkeys and mules are invaluable for cultivating land and transporting goods and people.

More than half the world’s population are thought to be dependent on horses for their livelihood.

But despite their loyal service, in many countries working horses are suffering.

Overworked and poorly cared for

Horse owners in many parts of the world do not have the knowledge, skills or income to put the welfare of their animals first.

Working horses often receive little or no veterinary care. They are frequently:

  • Kept in poor conditions with a lack of nutritional food.
  • Poorly shod, resulting in lameness.
  • Overloaded, or forced to pull unroadworthy carts.
  • Infested with parasites.
  • Worked for long hours in high temperatures, without rest or water.

A worldwide response

WSPA works to provide owners with the equipment and training they need to care for their horses.

Working with member societies in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America, we:

  • Provide horse welfare education for owners
  • Promote changes in human behaviour that improve animal welfare
  • Increase access to veterinary services, hoof care, water and shade
  • Encourage governments to adopt protective legislation for working horses
  • Run mobile clinics that can provide veterinary care where it is needed.

By improving the welfare of working horses these programmes also benefit the people who rely on them.

How you can help

When travelling, avoid the use of pack animals or taking donkey and horse rides where burdens are heavy and conditions poor.

With so much work to be done, every donation counts. Please help fund WSPA’s work.

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A working horse in Romania