Helping working animals in Morocco

Our founders Kate and Nina Hosali started working in Morocco shortly after establishing SPANA in 1923. Since then our local activities have steadily grown, enabling us to treat many thousands of sick and injured working animals every year.

Morocco at a glance

  • Population: 36.9 million 
  • Area: 446,550 square km 
  • Location: North Africa 
  • Capital city: Rabat 
  • Estimated number of working animals: 1.6 million 
  • Number of SPANA centres and mobile veterinary clinics: Eight 
  • Number of working animals treated in 2021: 22,378 
  • Number of animal owners trained in 2021: 5,869 
  • Number of veterinary professionals trained in 2021: 202 
  • Number of children receiving humane education in 2021: 16,598 

Our work in Morocco

 In Morocco, we operate five fixed centres – in Casablanca, Chemaia, Had Ouled Frej, Khemisset and Marrakech. Our team helps working animals in remote communities in our two mobile veterinary clinics. We also run special projects, such as setting up a licensing scheme for Benslimane’s and Marrakech’s caleche horses, which pull tourist carriages. We monitor their welfare and build and maintain water troughs on main routes to give horses and other animals access to water. 

 Our team also provides training to owners in providing proper care for their animals, and invaluable training for veterinary professionals. Our clinical skills centre gives trainee vets the opportunity to improve their technical and practical skills. 

SPANA believes one of the most effective ways of ensuring a better future for working animals is to educate children about animal welfare from an early age. Our extensive education programme in Morocco teaches thousands of children each year. Children visit all of SPANA’s centres where they take part in animal welfare classroom-based activities and tour the clinics to see working animals being treated. They also get the chance to come into contact with animals, which helps to develop their knowledge of working animals. A SPANA mobile exhibition unit also tours schools in rural areas. 

SPANA also helps working animals in times of crisis. The restrictions on travel and movement during the global coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic had a devastating impact on working animals and their owners in Morocco. Thanks to your support, those worst affected received the lifesaving food and veterinary treatment they needed through SPANA’s emergency feeding programme. 

Q&A with SPANA Morocco Country Director Professor Hassan Alyakine

How long have you been working for SPANA? 

I graduated from the Institut Agronomique et Vétérinaire Hassan II in 1989, going on to work as an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine and Surgery for equines and small animals. Two years later, I began work with SPANA, based at a veterinary centre around 200 miles north of Marrakech. From 2008, I was responsible for managing the SPANA centre in Morocco, before my appointment as Country Director January 2014. SPANA’s founders Kate and Nina Hosali began working in Morocco in 1925 and – nearly 100 years on – the work they started is thriving. 

What does your role involve? 

I spend my time coordinating all of SPANA’s charitable activities in Morocco. This not only means SPANA’s veterinary work, but the management of relationships we have with other charities and third parties involved with the welfare of working animals. Being involved with SPANA’s projects across the whole of Morocco gives me a great opportunity to ensure it is working harmoniously. 

Is teaching a significant part of your role? 

Yes, and it’s important on so many levels. While it’s key to teach owners and children, we also need to continually educate all staff working in the SPANA centres. This allows them to pass on the most current knowledge directly to owners as they treat their animals. 

What are the challenges facing working animals? 

There are obvious problems facing working animals, like harness wounds and lameness, but these problems are often compounded by a lack of appropriate animal welfare legislation. SPANA in Morocco faces all of these difficulties, but we’re making real progress. 

Are you optimistic about the future for working animals and animal welfare in Morocco? 

We have to be optimistic in order to continue to achieve so much for the welfare of working animals. This optimism is supported by our strong reputation within local communities; hardworking and committed staff, and good relationships with authorities and education institutions. 

What do you like most about your role? 

What I like most about my job is the pleasure I get from saving an animal or ensuring its welfare through education. Since I’ve been working for SPANA, I’ve seen great changes in people’s attitudes towards their animals. When I first started, we would have to go out and persuade people to get their animals treated. Now they come to us, and I think that’s a huge achievement for the charity. 

Other countries we work in

Helping working animals in Botswana

Find out more about how SPANA helps working animals in Botswana.

Donkeys pulling cart on rubbish dump

Helping working animals in Mali

Find out more about how SPANA helps working animals in Mali.

Helping working animals in Tunisia

Find out more about how SPANA helps working animals in Tunisia.

Helping working animals in Botswana

Find out more about how SPANA helps working animals in Botswana.

Donkeys pulling cart on rubbish dump

Helping working animals in Mali

Find out more about how SPANA helps working animals in Mali.

Helping working animals in Tunisia

Find out more about how SPANA helps working animals in Tunisia.