Our founders Kate and Nina Hosali started working in Morocco in 1925 and since then our centres and activities have flourished.
Morocco at a glance
• Population: 35.28 million
• Area: 710,850 sq km
• Location: Most westerly country of north Africa
• Capital City: Rabat
• Estimated number of working equines and camels: 1.7 million
• Five SPANA centres in Casablanca, Chemaia, Had Ouled Frej, Khemisset and Marrakech
• One mobile veterinary clinic reaching animals in remote communities
• Special projects such as setting up a licensing scheme for Marrakech’s caleche horses, which pull tourist carriages
• SPANA also monitors their welfare and builds and maintains water troughs on main routes to give working animals access to water
• In the past year, SPANA Morocco has provided more than 60,000 treatments to working animals across the country
• SPANA believes the only way to ensure a better future for working animals is to educate children about animal welfare at an early age. Our extensive education programme in Morocco taught more than 25,000 children in 2017.
• Children visit all of SPANA’s centres where they take part in animal welfare classroom activities and get to tour the clinics to see working animals being treated. They also get the chance to experience handling rabbits and guineas pigs which helps to develop positive attitudes and empathy towards animals.
• Nearly 10,000 children and their teachers visit the SPANA education programme at Sidi Bou Ghaba nature reserve to learn about animals in their natural environment
• The SPANA mobile exhibition unit tours schools in rural areas, reaching more than 15,000 children last year
• SPANA has a riding centre in Casablanca which gives children with disabilities the opportunity to take part in riding activities
MEET THE VET – Professor Hassan Alyakine, SPANA Morocco country director
How long have you been working for SPANA?
I started working with SPANA in 1991, at a veterinary centre about 200 miles north of Marrakech. This was two years after graduating from the Institut Agronomique et Vétérinaire Hassan II, where I also worked as an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine and Surgery for equines and small animals. I was appointed as Morocco’s country director in January 2014 after having had responsibility for SPANA’s Casablanca centre since 2008. SPANA’s founders Kate and Nina Hosali began working in Morocco in 1925 and — 90 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 onto owners directly 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 I like most about my job is the pleasure you 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 working for SPANA, 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.”