The Donkey Sanctuary is delighted that the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has approved global welfare standards for working horses, donkeys and mules at its annual World Assembly in Paris on Wednesday.
As many as 180 member countries are now committed to implementing these standards, which will form part of the OIE’s Terrestrial Code. The standards entitle working equines to their most basic of needs, such as food, water and shelter. They are a significant step towards improving welfare conditions for millions of working equines as they give global recognition to the importance of their welfare.
The charity has been closely engaged in the process of reviewing and refining the standards alongside other British equine welfare charities. The organisation has also been encouraging its collaborating partners in over 20 countries to contact and develop relationships with their local OIE representatives. These relationships will become more important now that the chapter has been adopted, as the bigger challenge is encouraging each country individually to implement the standards.
Director of International Operations, Stephen Blakeway, who has helped advocate for the framework over the last five years is delighted. He said: “At last donkeys, mules and hinnies are recognised in global standards that can be used by everyone working to protect them. There is no longer any excuse for donkeys to be invisible. At The Donkey Sanctuary, our next task is to align our own work to the standards so that we have strong case studies showing how practical application benefits donkeys and people socially and economically.”
Reacting to the approval of the working equine welfare standards, The Donkey Sanctuary CEO Mike Baker said, “This is fantastic news! The first global welfare standards for working donkeys is a real milestone and we hope it will help to drive forward greater welfare standards for these hardworking animals who give so much to their human owners and communities.”