An ambitious strategy to help improve the welfare of more working animals than ever before has been launched by global charity SPANA (the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad).

Transforming the Lives of Working Animals: SPANA Strategy 2023-27 outlines the charity’s plans for the next five years, 100 years on its foundation in 1923. The new strategy sets out how the charity will improve the welfare of working horses, donkeys, camels, mules, elephants and other working animals across the world, at a time when these animals face challenges on an “unprecedented level”.

These challenges include rising global poverty and inequality, which are leaving owners struggling to care for, feed and keep their animals. Other risks, such as increasing political and economic instability and zoonotic diseases, and direct threats to certain species like the global donkey skins trade, are creating further challenges for working animals. The ongoing impact of climate change is also proving increasingly difficult on communities that rely on working animals for their livelihoods.

Credit: SPANA

SPANA’s new strategy

The new plan has three core goals:

  • To improve the quality of life for working animals globally, at a greater scale than ever before.
  • To ensure the contribution working animals make to people across the world is recognised and valued.
  • To ensure that the world of working animals thrives and grows sustainably, as part of the nexus of animals, people and the environment.

In pursuing these three core goals, the charity says it will also work to build its reputation as a “pioneering, modern and truly global organisation; a proven project partner; and an exemplar in safeguarding and governance”.

A working camel with a heavy load at the brick kilns in India. Credit: SPANA

“100 years since the formation of SPANA, we face challenges and problems that are more complex than ever before, and life for working animals has never been more perilous,” said Linda Edwards, Chief Executive of SPANA. “A multitude of threats to working animal welfare means demand for our work is greater than ever.

“SPANA’s strategy for 2023-27 outlines how we will rise to these significant challenges and evolve our work. It outlines our ambitions to develop and expand our core activities and operating model. Historically, SPANA’s focus has been on ensuring the treatment of working animals in need, while seeking longer-term changes in animal welfare through the training of owners in animal care and the teaching of children in animal welfare. That will remain the foundation of our work. But as we continue to Treat, Train and Teach, we will also seek to Transform – through innovative new activities and strategic partnerships designed to transform the welfare of working animals, in a world where animals, people and the environment are respected and thrive.

“Our new strategy will involve scaling our impact while maintaining quality delivery; demonstrating greater value for money; and using evidence to influence globally – all while improving the resilience and wellbeing of working animals and the people who depend upon them. Above all, our strategy will enable SPANA to deliver a lasting transformation in the lives of working animals across the world.”

Credit: SPANA

Lead image by SPANA

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