Helping Working Equines Across the Globe: Animal Aid Abroad Reflects on 2018


Working animals are being severely mistreated every day. They’re often forced to carry heavy loads well beyond their capacity for farming, festivals, or construction, or used unethically in tourism. These animals work in punishing environments, are given little to no rest, and work with painful harnessing and untreated wounds. They frequently go without adequate water and nutrition.

Animal Aid Abroad (AAA) partners with local organisations to provide veterinary clinics to treat sick and injured working animals, educate local communities, and provide much needed shelter, food, water, medical supplies, and care to suffering animals. 2018 has been a big year for Animal Aid Abroad. We’ve seen so much great work being done around the world for working animal welfare.

During November, AAA Founder Janet Thomas traveled to Indonesia’s Gili Trawagan Island to see the work being done with the equine hoof care specialist, or farrier, program there that Animal Aid Abroad supports. Western Australian farriers Chris Beggs and Steve Chamberlain volunteer their time and skills to not only make and fit shoes for equines but also to train local men to become farriers. It was extremely hard work with the hot, humid conditions, and the work kept coming as many locals wanted their ponies’ feet worked on. It was great to see the line of equines each day and the realization from locals that their ponies certainly benefit from better shoes and hoof care.

A training session teaches locals how to perform proper hoof care.

Janet also visited the rubbish collecting ponies that Animal Aid Abroad supports and all are doing very well. It was great to see the implementation of new electric carts, which means the horses have a lot more rest days and are not over worked.

Working ponies on Gili Trawangan.

Part of Janet’s visit was to meet two Indonesian veterinarians, Penny Wahyu and Ruth Advendtine, who joined the week long clinic in hopes that they will become part of a more expanded program offering vet clinics to surrounding islands, such as Lombok. In 2019 we hope to run veterinarian and farrier clinics not only on all the Gili Islands but on Lombok as well.

An equine receives hoof care at the farrier clinic on Gili Trawangan.



It’s also been a very busy few months in Bukombe, Tanzania with AAA partner group Tanzania Humane Charity (TAHUCHA). Richard Itaba, who runs TAHUCHA, and his team have been very busy completing the first Donkey Sanctuary ever built in Tanzania. The sanctuary is meant for injured, sick, abandoned and elderly donkeys, and already has five permanent residents, with a number of other donkeys receiving care and treatment until they are well enough to go back to their permanent homes.

Working donkeys in the area of Mtera Dam in Tanzania.

In November, TAHUCHA had a visit from veterinarians Emma Rayner, IIona Otter and Aswin Aliss from World Vet Services (WVS) UK. Emma, IIlona and Aswin spent 8 days running clinics and training with the TAHUCHA team. The really great news is that WVS has agreed to partner with us by sending a team of vets twice yearly to treat donkeys and further train the TAHUCHA team.

A working donkey in Tanzania pulling a humane yoke, donated by AAA.

Alongside these events, AAA continues to support our partner by funding more humane carts, water troughs and education of local children. Thanks to all our supporters and donors who have directly assisted us to improve the welfare and treatment of working donkeys in Bukombe, Tanzania.

A mobile donkey clinic comes to Nazaret village, Tanzania.


AAA has recently partnered with Nicaraguan organisation Orprovet, and together we are providing free veterinary services in Nicaragua for working animals. The equine project is focused on dental care, hoof care, surgery and general consultations for horses who are suffering due to the civil unrest in Nicaragua. Many people who keep horses have lost their jobs because of a downturn in tourism. In an effort to replace that lost income, the horses have been put to work pulling heavy carts overloaded with construction materials, while others are used as taxis. The horses are overworked and do not receive any veterinary care because there is no money to pay for it.

A man and his horse attend the clinic in Nicaragua.

The first commitment from AAA to this organization and their cause was to fund veterinary supplies for a clinic to treat over 600 working horses from December 15th to 17th. At the clinic there was a team of 18 veterinarian volunteers and two veterinarians from the United States who taught local veterinarians aspects of equine medicine such as ultrasounds, x-rays, dental care, and more. This way, while the animals were receiving care, the local people were being helped as well. The veterinary services were provided without any cost for the owners.

A horse receives medication at the veterinary clinic in Nicaragua.

AAA is proud to partner with this group and to widen our scope for helping working animals around the world. To learn more about the work we do and learn how you can help, visit our website or Facebook page.

Featured image: A veterinarian treats an injured horse at a veterinary clinic in Nicaragua. This image and all images in this story credited to Animal Aid Abroad.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About Author

Founded in 2007, Animal Aid Abroad runs projects and initiatives in 12 different countries and has partnerships with around 18 animal welfare organisations and project partners globally. Together, they assist hundreds of abused, sick, and injured working animals in very poor and difficult regions. AAA is dedicated to improving the lives of working horses, donkeys, mules, bullocks, camels, and other animals. Click to see author's profile.

Leave A Reply