SPANA: "Working animals must be a higher priority"

Former CEO of Royal National Children’s Foundation, Geoffrey Dennis, has taken up a new role as the Chief Executive of international charity SPANA (the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad) and is now calling on the international community to reduce the plight of working animals.

Nearly 200 million donkeys, horses and mules are working hard every day across Africa and beyond and are vital to the economic wellbeing of the world’s poorest communities.

Horses, donkeys, camels and elephants are doing the job of trucks, tractors and taxis in many of the world’s communities and have been shown to improve the status of women in society and support the education of children. 

Geoffrey Dennis, who took up his new post this month, argues that while the international community excels in delivering major emergency response, the approach is only short term and needs to become more sustainable.

He said: “Around one billion people globally are dependent on their animals - these animals underpin the economic wellbeing and livelihoods of the poorest families. But this vital hidden workforce is often overlooked by the international community.  These animals must be made a higher priority.

“By providing animals with the care they need, we can prevent suffering and improve their welfare. But we also help those who rely on them so completely. One of the best ways to protect communities and ensure that people don’t get caught in an ‘aid trap’ is to look after their animals.”

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