Most internet users have seen the horror pictures of tiny donkeys labouring under overweight tourists in vacation spots around the world.
Now, international animal welfare charity, SPANA, is encouraging holidaymakers to read their free Holiday Hooves guide to help improve the lives of working animals, such as horses and donkeys, used in the tourism industry.
The guide includes advice about how to choose healthy-looking animals for rides and treks, as well as information about what to do when encountering any animal welfare concerns on holiday.
SPANA works in developing countries throughout the world, providing free veterinary care to sick and injured working animals, as well as providing animal welfare education and training to those who rely on them to earn a living.
Simon Reeve, a travel author and television presenter is a supporter of the Holiday Hooves guide.
‘‘I’m proud to be supporting SPANA’s responsible tourism campaign to improve the welfare of animals working in the tourism industry worldwide.
‘‘Travelling around the developing world, I’ve seen for myself how families rely on working animals for their livelihoods. But a life of work shouldn’t mean a life of suffering – these animals work hard and they deserve to be treated with respect and compassion.’’
Despite the relentless hard work of animals pulling carriages or carrying tourists and luggage, they can be poorly treated, neglected and beaten.
Many do not receive any veterinary care in the event of illness or injury, which can lead to serious health and welfare issues.
SPANA urges tourists to support the owners who treat and care for their animals with kindness and respect.
The Holiday Hooves guide can be downloaded from the SPANA website.