UK charities host EU panel on working animals and sustainable growth

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UK charities host EU panel on working animals and sustainable growth

The International Coalition of Working Equids (ICWE) highlighted the crucial role working horses, donkeys and mules play in supporting sustainable development while speaking at a European Union (EU) event this week.

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

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 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.

Ian Cawsey, ICWE Chair and Director of Advocacy at The Donkey Sanctuary, said: “This is the first time that we have been able to present to the EU on the important role working donkeys, horses and mules play in empowering sustainable growth. 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.

Speaker topics 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 formed in 2017 as a coalition to improve communications with the OIE and other international organisations. 

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