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The College of Animal Welfare

International working animals day
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International working animals day
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International Working Animal Day – How can we help?

When we hear the term ‘working animals’ we might usually think of police dogs, or guide dogs. Leaving other working animals such as donkeys, camels and elephants to be forgotten about. For this reason, SPANA (the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad) are focusing their third International Working Animal Day on working animals in developing countries.

What jobs do working animals do in developing countries?

Most of the time people living in developing countries can’t afford a truck to transport their goods. So have no choice but to use an animal in its place. This is the reality for more than 200 million animals worldwide who are doing the job of trucks and taxis. Without the use of animals, many families wouldn’t be able to earn a living.

Why do they need our help?

Every day working animals have to walk for hours pulling heavy loads in the sun. They often have painful, homemade harnessing that can cause wounds and don’t have adequate water and nutrition. All of these factors combined are too commonly leading to the animals having short and painful lives.

What are SPANA doing?

SPANA are working hard to increase welfare standards for working animals. To do this, they are focusing on three areas:


At some point in their lives, all animals will need to see a vet. This is even more important for working animals who spend their days carrying heavy loads. However, working animals in poor countries with little access to veterinary care, are often going their whole life without seeing a vet.

To reduce the amount of unnecessary suffering in working animals, SPANA provide free healthcare to hundreds of thousands of working animals every year. This healthcare includes vaccinations, treating injuries and replacing badly fitting homemade equipment.


SPANA have also focused their efforts on raising awareness and sharing knowledge to improve welfare standards for working animals.

Spreading knowledge is important because it addresses the root cause of the welfare issues and can help them from persisting in the future.

To raise awareness, SPANA are working with veterinary schools across the developing world to spread knowledge and develop skills. This also allows them to leave behind a community of well-trained vets.


If welfare standards are going to improve for working animals, attitudes and beliefs need to be altered.

To encourage children to treat animals with kindness and understanding, SPANA have set up a variety of animal welfare education programmes. The programmes are aimed at children because in farming communities the children are usually responsible for taking care of their family’s livestock.


Find out more about the work SPANA do and how you can get involved this International Working Animal Day by visiting their website.

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