The contributions of working horses, donkeys and mules to food security has officially been recognised by the UN after successful advocacy work from equine charity, The Brooke.
From now on, working equines will be included in the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) definition of livestock.
The decision by UN member states will help further Brooke’s work with national governments to ensure that horses, donkeys and mules are included in livestock policies and legislation.
Before now, the definition of livestock in UN food security policies has only included animals that produce food directly, such as cows and sheep.
Horses, donkeys and mules facilitate food production indirectly, either by transport or by helping their owners earn the income needed to buy food. They also help with ploughing, sowing and tilling the fields where food is grown, and transport feed and water for other animals.
Mr Ali Camara, the Executive Secretary of Senegal’s National Food Security Council, said: “It’s been long recognised that food producing livestock help people to improve their lives and put food on the table, but these beasts of burden, the animals that carry produce and work the land, have been ignored. They need special consideration, so I am delighted to see the CFS giving them the recognition they deserve.
“I was also proud to speak alongside Brooke at a CFS side event on how we can improve the health and wellbeing of these animals, as well as the people who rely on them.”
Brooke’s chief executive Petra Ingram added: “This achievement is a result of months of negotiations and I’m incredibly proud of the tenacity of our team in getting to this point.
“Brooke’s next challenge is to take this UN endorsement to national governments and help them adapt their livestock policies to include equine welfare.”