World Horse Welfare – Improving equine welfare in Mexico

World Horse Welfare – improving equine welfare in Mexico through community-based training

Leading international charity World Horse Welfare has been chosen by The Elise Pilkington Charitable Trust to receive a donation of £25,000 towards its new project helping working horses, donkeys and mules in Mexico.

Since 1991, World Horse Welfare has been working in Mexico, gradually extending the project to the state of Oaxaca. Oaxaca is one of the three worst states in the country for social and economic deprivation: 55% of the population does not have access to clean water, and almost a third of people do not meet the daily minimum calorie intake for proper nutrition.[1]  The need for working equines in Oaxaca, and the role they play in the state’s economy, is clear, as the state has the fourth highest population of equines in Mexico.[2]  During a research visit in 2015, World Horse Welfare’s team determined the largest populations of equines are in the districts of Zimatlan and Etla (3,000 and 1,300 respectively), and it is here that the lowest welfare conditions were found. The working equines suffer from wounds from ill-fitting tack, untreated injury, hoof problems and lameness, and malnutrition.

World Horse Welfare’s new three-year project, which will begin in August 2016, will focus on creating a tradition of better horse care knowledge and skills in these communities for the benefit of working equines. The project will also increase the quality and number of local, trained service providers by training 20 farriers and 20 saddlers to help improve the welfare of working  equines and so their families. By 2018 the programme will have directly improved the welfare of 1,500 of horses, donkeys and mules and their owners who rely on the good health of their animals to make a living.

World Horse Welfare will establish a dedicated training programme in the districts of Zimatlan and Etla. Due to a lack of access to the right equipment and services, such as farriers and saddlers, equines in these districts often suffer from painful wounds caused by ill-fitting tack, as well as hoof-related injuries and infections which prevent them from working efficiently and make them prone to disease. World Horse Welfare, with the support of The Elise Pilkington Charitable Trust, will address these issues by implementing community-based training programmes to provide sustainable change in the priority given to horse health and welfare, and the knowledge necessary to improve them.

World Horse Welfare’s Director of International, Liam Maguire, says:

“We are looking forward to beginning our new project in Mexico, and are so thankful to the Trustees of The Elise Pilkington Charitable Trust for providing us with this vital grant. The Trust’s support will enable us to deliver this project for the long-term benefit of Mexico’s working equines.  By offering community-based training opportunities, we will not only improve the quality of services available in the area but we will also ensure the long-term impact of the skills learned within the community, as these skills are passed from generation to generation.”

World Horse Welfare’s international programmes help equines in 13 developing countries around the world including; Costa Rica, Honduras, Haiti, Cambodia, Nepal and South Africa. In the last year alone the charity has helped improve the welfare of horses, donkeys and mules through these programmes and the new project in Mexico is the latest milestone in reaching its target of helping 30,000 equines over the next two years.

[1] Social Development Secretary of Mexico (SEDESOL)

[2] National Statistics Institute of Mexico (INEGI, 2007)