Over the last months news media reported about a huge demand from China for donkey hides, which puts under great pressure the donkey populations and their owners worldwide. The hides are used to produce a traditional Chinese medicine.
An extensive report on the issue is now published by THE DONKEY SANCTUARY.
In October 2016 the Portuguese Association for Animal Traction APTRAN together with the European working horse network FECTU organized a symposium on THE XXI CENTURY MOUNTAINS:SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT OF MOUNTAINOUS AREAS BASED ON ANIMAL TRACTION in Bragança (Portugal) during the Ist INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN MOUNTAIN REGIONS.
The following abstracts of the symposium underline the relevance of working animals worldwide and the important role they continue to play today. After an overview of the renaissance of working horses in Europe in the last decades different aspects of the possible use and further development of animal traction are presented, based on experiences in Portugal, Switzerland and Italy and dealing with societal, economical, environmental and agrotechnical issues.
Draught animal power has been defined as the "forgotten renewable" or as "the underdeveloped development tool".
Forgotten and underdeveloped this source of energy can't express all its potential probably because the decision makers, NGO's, international organizations and national authorities are not informed on how animal traction is widespread in remote villages.
The aim of the survey launched at www.wedap.eu/survey01.html is to supply data to the decision makers on how draught animal power can be a very useful intermediate technology between manual labor and mechanization.
All those who have appropriate information are kindly requested to fill in the 4 pages form of the survey.
Some more information of a cost benefit analysis on the use of draught animal power can be found in document http://www.wedap.eu/d/abc2015.pdf presented at the Asian Buffalo Congress held in Istanbul April 21-25, 2015.
A short presentation of the matter is available also in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFJKJkZpsdc
OIE-WORLD ORGANISATION FOR ANIMAL HEALTH
Terrestrial Animal Health Code
Chapter 7.12- Welfare of Working Equids
In many countries, working equids, used for transport and traction, contribute directly and indirectly to households' livelihoods and benefit communities as a whole. Working equids may be of direct or indirect use in production and commercial activities.
Specifically, they contribute to agricultural production and food security by transporting, for instance, water and fodder for other livestock, firewood and other daily needs to the homestead and agricultural products to the market. They provide draught power for agricultural work and transport. They may supply manure, milk, meat and hides for household use or income.
The welfare of these working equids is often poor because their owners lack sufficient resources to meet their needs or have insufficient knowledge of the appropriate care of equids. Certain working contexts, such as working in construction industries or in harsh environments, may present a particular risk to their welfare.
SFET French Working Equids Society
The French Working Equids Society SFET was founded in 2012 and is meant to be the contact for national authorities regarding all the issues concerning the French working equid breeds, that is 7 donkey breeds, 2 mule breeds, 9 draught horse breeds and 8 local breeds of horses and poneys, in total 24 breeds counting 225.000 animals.
In order to reverse the decline in the birth rate of these breeds the SFET is committed on different action levels: developing tools allowing to produce animals that meet the demand of the market ( characterization, selection, valorisation, marketing) and organize the exchange between producers of good working equids and their customers.