Q&A with Pippa Young, SPANA Botswana Country Director
How important are working animals to daily life in Botswana?
Donkeys are the most important asset to rural people, but they are extremely undervalued. They provide all of the draught power for daily firewood and water collection. They pull carts to provide much-needed supplies. They are used for ploughing in the rainy season, so that their owners can grow staple crops. Horses, meanwhile, play a crucial role mustering cattle.
What are the biggest challenges working animals face in Botswana?
Through no fault of their own, many owners are unable to afford or obtain the correct equipment for their animals, so we are still seeing wounds caused by improper harnessing. Some owners also use traditional methods to control their animals. Throughout 2022, we’re running community training initiatives to promote humane care.
What do you like most about your job?
That it is so varied! There is never a typical day because it’s constantly changing depending on the phone calls and requests to help working animals we receive. You need to think on your feet! But when my day’s work is over, it is great to know that I have been able to make a difference to the lives of working animals.
What would your message to SPANA supporters be?
On behalf of the working animals and their owners in Botswana, and the SPANA Botswana team, thank you for your never-failing support over the years. Working animals are often overlooked, but for centuries people have depended on them for their survival. For the price of a coffee in Europe, you are helping to provide vital treatment to a working animal in need, and the families and communities who rely on them so much. Thank you for your support.