Without SPANA animals like this sick donkey foal would stand little chance of survival.
The foal was spotted lying on the ground in a Moroccan marketplace by twelve year old Abdelhak. As there was no mother, owner, or anybody in sight Abdelhak realised that the foal must have been abandoned. Abdelhak carefully put the foal, who he called Mensi (meaning forgotten) into his little cart and pulled him home to give him food and water. Despite this nourishment, Mensi remained weak and dejected so Abdelhak brought him 2 kilometres to the SPANA centre. Abdelhak knew about SPANA as he had visited the centre to take part in our education programme when his family had been able to afford to send him to school.
The SPANA vets examined Mensi, diagnosed the problem and operated immediately. Mensi was admitted as an inpatient and bottle fed with milk and honey. Luckily Mensi’s treatment was successful, and he has found a new home with the boy that rescued him.
Mensi is one of the lucky ones. He is being well looked after by a kind and understanding owner and has access to SPANA’s veterinary care. However, in many of the poorest countries in the world, working animals – such as donkeys, horses, mules and camels – never receive even basic care and work tirelessly in dreadful conditions. Although animals are essential to millions of families in the developing world they suffer needless pain, endure ill health and may die prematurely. On the rubbish dumps of Mali, donkeys’ diets are supplemented with cardboard. Over parts of Africa animals are routinely ‘fired’ with a red-hot poker in an attempt to ‘heal’ lameness, arthritis and various other conditions.
This is where SPANA steps in. SPANA’s vets and technicians work not only to stitch up wounds, sooth painful injuries and prevent infections – they also patiently educate owners about animal welfare. Many animal owners in developing countries live in abject poverty and often have little or no education. Their animals are their livelihood and they would struggle to provide for their families without them. Yet, they have often been brought up without an understanding of how to care for their animals and often inadvertently cause suffering through harmful traditional practices like firing and nostril slitting.
This is where SPANA’s education programme can make a real difference. SPANA can help end harmful traditional practices and bring about long-term improvements to animal welfare standards by encouraging children, tomorrow’s animal owners, to see animals as sentient creatures, capable of feeling pain and requiring careful husbandry.
SPANA also respond to save donkeys, horses and livestock caught up in natural disasters and conflicts all over the world. Our emergency programme can provide life-saving help to animals wherever and whenever disaster strikes. For example, during the recent drought in the Horn of Africa SPANA fed 50,000 animals to ensure their survival until the rains came.
Last year SPANA provided almost 400,000 treatments to working animals like Mensi, all thanks to the kindness and generosity of our supporters.
This year, SPANA turn 90. Founded by two pioneering women in 1923, SPANA makes a real difference to the lives of working animals. Please help us continue our life-saving work.