working animals in Bamako pulling a cart
working animals in Bamako pulling a cart

International Working Animal Day 2019

What is International Working Animal Day?

SPANA’s fourth annual International Working Animal Day takes place on Saturday 15 June 2019 to raise awareness about the vital role played by working animals in developing countries around the world.

Working animals – such as horses, donkeys, camels and elephants – are relied upon by over 600 million of the world’s poorest people for their livelihoods. More than 200 million working animals worldwide do the jobs of trucks, tractors and taxis and, by transporting goods and people, make it possible for impoverished families to earn a living.

Yet, 62 per cent of people in the UK don’t know what a working animal is and, despite their importance, these animals often lead short, hard lives, with tough working conditions, inadequate nutrition and no access to veterinary treatment.

SPANA believes that these animals deserve greater recognition. And, more importantly, they need our help.

A lifetime of work

Watch the story of three donkeys – Smart, Ponny and Mheri – and their owner in Zimbabwe. Find out about the daily challenges they face and how life in the UK compares to theirs.

How can you get involved?

This year, we’re raising awareness about the fact that working animals – like their owners – face a lifetime of work. They must work for their entire lives, and never get to retire.

While in many wealthier countries people’s working lives have been transformed in recent decades, most working animals endure the same conditions they faced a century ago.

SPANA believes a life of work shouldn’t mean a life of suffering.

Deborah Meaden supporting SPANA's International Working Animal Day

Who’s supporting the campaign?

Deborah Meaden said:

‘Workplaces in Britain have changed beyond recognition in the past few decades – and conditions for workers have generally improved enormously. But for most working animals overseas nothing ever changes. They face the same punishing conditions day-in, day-out, working in extreme temperatures and carrying backbreaking loads.

‘On International Working Animal Day, please support SPANA’s work to ensure these hardworking horses, donkeys, elephants and camels receive the vital veterinary treatment they need and that their welfare is improved.’

Paul O'Grady with dog Eddie supporting SPANA's International Working Animal Day

Paul O’Grady said:

‘It breaks my heart to see how hard horses, donkeys, mules and camels have to work around the world, pulling carts and carrying heavy loads. Despite how important they are, many will lead short, painful lives. Hardly any receive even basic vet care when they’re sick or injured, as it’s often not available and their owners simply can’t afford it. They deserve better.

‘That’s why I support SPANA, the charity that gets free lifesaving vet care to working animals. Today I’m asking you to join me in backing SPANA’s International Working Animal Day. We need governments and aid organisations around the world to recognise the massive contribution of working animals and to make sure they get the treatment, care and compassion they deserve.’

Join SPANA ambassador Jim Broadbent in celebrating this year's International Working Animal Day

Get interactive!

Ever wondered how many hours you spend travelling to work or how long you’ve got left until you retire? Find out how your working life compares to that of a working animal by using our new interactive tool below!

Find out how hard you work

Read more about our International Working Animal Day campaigns

For our third International Working Animal Day in 2018, we raised awareness about the arduous journeys undertaken by working animals overseas every day. Watch Dante the donkey’s story and use our step tracker to compare your daily steps to those of a working animal.

Take a look at 2018’s campaign

 

In 2017, we looked at how working animals, such as horses and donkeys, played a fundamental role in Britain’s past. Find out how famous city landmarks all around the UK have changed since working animals were a common sight on the nation’s streets.

Take a look at 2017’s campaign

Discover more ways to get involved with helping working animals

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Three children sit together happily holding knitted animal toys

Knitting for charity: big knit for vets

Try our Big Knit For Vet Kit - get your free fundraising pack full of knitting patterns.

Carriage horses waiting in a line

Ethical Animal Tourism

Our Holiday Hooves Guide contains advice on how to choose healthy looking animals for activities abroad.

Table of cakes

Spana World Tea Party

Find out how to host a charity tea party that will help raise funds to care for working animals in the world. Discover more about...

Donate to SPANA to help the world’s working animals