Group of working camels in Mauritania
Group of working camels in Mauritania

Frequently Asked Questions

I am thinking of supporting SPANA. How can I make a donation?

Thank you so much for considering supporting SPANA. We receive no government funding and are dependent on donations from members of the public, so we are extremely grateful for any donation you can make.

There are several ways to donate to SPANA; we hope one of these will be convenient for you.

You can make a one-off or monthly donation online here.

You can make a donation over the phone by calling our friendly Supporter Engagement team on 1300 149 080.

You can send a cheque or postal order made payable to SPANA at SPANA, PO Box 5886, Brendale QLD 4500. Please ensure you enclose your details if you would like an acknowledgement of your donation.

You can make a bank transfer to SPANA using the details below. Please ensure you let us know you have made a transfer so we can send an acknowledgement.

  • Bank: Commonwealth Bank of Australia
  • Account name: Society for Protection of Animals Abroad
  • BSB: 062 014
  • Account number: 10680206
  • Reference: Please add your Donor ID or name here

My contact details have changed. How can I let you know my new details?

To update your contact information, simply email or call our friendly Supporter Engagement team on 1300 149 080, Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.

Do you help cats and dogs and other small animals in the countries where you work?

SPANA is dedicated to improving the lives and welfare of working animals in some of the world’s poorest communities. Our supporters donate so that we can provide treatment for working animals so they can continue helping communities in the countries where we work. Sadly, we do not have the resources to extend our support to other animals.

If you are concerned about a non-working animal overseas it is worth trying an animal or veterinary charity based in the country the animal is in.

I’ve witnessed cruelty to a working animal while on holiday. How can you help?

If you see any mistreatment of animals, you should write to your tour operator and the country’s Tourist Board stating your concerns and reporting your experiences.

See our free Holiday Hooves guide for further information.

Why can’t working animals be replaced with vehicles?

Over 50 per cent of the world’s population is dependent on a working animal for their livelihoods. Working animals such as donkeys, horses and camels plough fields, carry goods to and from local markets and transport people and essential items like food and water.

Due to the high costs of fuel, maintenance and lack of infrastructure, it simply isn’t possible to provide an alternative to relying on animals. Animals can work free from pain and suffering and SPANA works to ensure animal owners understand how to care for their animals. We also educate children on how to show kindness and compassion to animals. Our training and teaching work, coupled with our provision of free veterinary treatment, ensures we are creating a better future for working animals.

Why can’t we take the animals away from the owners?

The animals that SPANA treats are owned working animals and we have no legal authority to take animals from their owners.

SPANA works hard to encourage owners to take the welfare of their animals seriously, to bring them for regular check-ups, farriery and dentistry. If we were to refuse to return animals to their owners we would very soon find that the number of animals we treat would drop massively, as owners would stay away from us. Animal welfare would suffer as a result.

A working animal is often the only means some people have of earning a livelihood and taking animals away from their owners doesn’t teach them about taking responsibility for them, so the likeliness is that they would soon replace the donkey with another and the problem would simply continue.

Why are owners cruel? Why do you spend money on education?

What may look like cruelty is often down to desperate poverty and lack of knowledge regarding animal care.

This is why our training and education programmes are so important – while providing veterinary care for these animals, we are also training the owners on animal welfare.

Our schools programme and animal clubs educate children – the future generation of animal owners – about the need to care for animals, building compassion and empathy.

Our education programme forms part of an integrated approach to sensitise whole communities to the importance of animal welfare. This in turn helps to maximise the effectiveness of our veterinary and community training programmes, ultimately leading to lasting change.

Why are you supporting animals to work?

SPANA recognises that working animals play a critical role in the survival of many developing communities. A working animal is often the only means some people have of earning money for their family.

Our mission is to improve the welfare of working animals. It would be very cruel not to treat an injured or ill animal and animal welfare would suffer as a result. In addition to providing free veterinary treatment and care to working animals in need, we also work to bring about long-term improvements in animal welfare by training owners how best to care for their animals, and by teaching children about the need to care for animals.