“Green” horses: Spotlight on working equines in sustainable development

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The ICWE champions the valuable contribution of working equids towards achieving the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as no poverty, zero hunger and quality education.
The ICWE champions the valuable contribution of working equids towards achieving the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as no poverty, zero hunger and quality education. © Etienne Peticlerc

The role of working horses, donkeys and mules in sustainable development and their contribution to the green energy initiative has been highlighted during a European Union (EU) event this week.

At the Working animals: empowering sustainable development event, the International Coalition of Working Equids (ICWE) championed the valuable contribution of working equids towards achieving the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as no poverty, zero hunger and quality education that are set out by the United Nations to be achieved by their members by 2030.

ICWE has delivered similar events at the United Nations, but this was the first collaborative presentation to an EU audience.

The event was hosted through the Eurogroup for Animals platform on September 28 and featured speakers addressing aspects of EU policy and funding that affect working animals both inside and outside of European countries.

ICWE Chair and Director of Advocacy at The Donkey Sanctuary Ian Cawsey said it was the first time the coalition had been able to present to the EU. “There are many such animals in the EU and in countries where the EU works through its funded programmes.

“We are grateful for the support of a diverse range of international speakers and the support of Eurogroup for Animals who worked with us to make this event happen. Both in Europe and across the world, the EU is well placed to drive positive change for working animals and the communities who rely on them. We look forward to helping them make it a reality”.

Speakers included Abdeslam Bouchafra from Spana, Rouguiatou Ka from Brooke West Africa, Gansly Jean from Fondation Quatre Pattes in Haiti, Clementine Bonnin from the French Society for Working Equids and Elina Asbjer from Vets Without Borders, Sweden.

The contribution of working equines to the green energy initiative has been highlighted at an EU event.
The contribution of working equines to the green energy initiative has been highlighted at an EU event. © Jean-Léo Dugast

Topics at the event were diverse — from the valuable contribution working animals can make to the EU’s green energy initiatives to the important and interconnected role of education in animal welfare, the environment and social justice.

ICWE is comprised of four working animal NGOs: Brooke, The Donkey Sanctuary, SPANA (the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad) and World Horse Welfare. All four charities work with rural communities around the world, supporting working equids and the people who depend on them for their livelihoods.

ICWE aims to help implement the OIE international Standard for the welfare of working equids, as well as to encourage ongoing improvements to the welfare for working equids across the globe. It was formed in 2017 as a coalition to improve communications with the OIE and other international organisations.

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