Major animal welfare project gives new lease of life to Afghans
A major new animal welfare project launched by
two British charities is transforming the lives of hundreds of
Afghan families and the working horses and donkeys they depend
on for survival.
Launched just two months ago, the jointly funded project by the
Brooke Hospital for Animals and the World Society for the Protection
of Animals (WSPA), provides free veterinary care for working equines
in the southern Afghan city of Jalalabad, a training programme
for the city's farriers as well as education for owners on basic
A boy washing his horse using water from the newly constructed
water trough and pump well.
addition, the project has just completed installing freshly pumped
drinking water and troughs, the first in Jalalabad for working
animals. Until now the nearest water supply was over three miles
away and horses frequently died from heat stress as temperatures
rose to over 40*C. The new watering facilities, at three carriage
stands across the city, are proving to be lifesavers for people
too: they are being used by the community, which itself has few
fresh water facilities in Jalalabad.
The project employs specially trained vets from the local Afghan
agency, Committee for Rehabilitation Aid to Afghanistan, to provide
treatment for sick and injured working animals at five of the
busiest horse and donkey carriage stands. Many of the animals
treated so far have been substantially underweight, some in very
poor condition. The reasons are badly overgrown teeth and heavy
worm infestations and these problems are now the major priority
for the veterinary work. Horses are also suffering from overgrown
feet, which can cause severe lameness.
Farrier training in action
Jalalabad, thousands of people work with horses and donkeys
and, in the vast majority of cases, entire families depend
on these animals for their livelihood. Both charities have
had past experience of working with Afghan people but this
is the first time both charities have been able to work
directly with returning refugees inside
Afghanistan to help rebuild their shattered lives.
Brooke's Veterinary Advisor, Joy Pritchard, describes the
early impact of the project: "My recent visit to Afghanistan
was inspiring. The team of vets have achieved so much in
such a short time. The horses and donkeys are receiving
the care and treatment they need and their owners are seeing
the benefits. Animals are already being brought from far-flung
villages to be treated by our vets.
Findlay, WSPA Project Officer, added: "The farriers
are using their new farriery kits with pride and we see
the youngest boys with donkeys show off their new hoof-picking
and grooming skills. The new pumps and water troughs will
be a life-saver during the hot summer months and give water
to the whole community, not just their horses. I'm delighted
that the project has got off to such a good start"
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Updated: October 2005.