Don’t Forget About Working Equids

Millions of families worldwide depend on working equids for transportation, farming, economic value, and social value.
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Out of sight, out of mind. This is often the harsh reality for working equids, while owners and veterinarians in developed countries are busy caring for their own horses. But, argues Derek Knottenbelt, DVM&S, Dipl. ECEIM, MRCVS, these animals serve a very important role across the world and need our attention.

A longtime equitarian (volunteer veterinarian on trips to developed countries) and professor of Equine Medicine at the University of Glasgow School of Veterinary Science, in Scotland, Knottenbelt described the working equid’s plight as well as importance during the 2015 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Dec. 5-9 in Las Vegas.

His philosophy, he said, is that by improving working animals’ welfare, we are in turn relieving human burden.

More than 100 million families in rural communities worldwide depend on working equids for transportation, farming, economic value, and social value. “They play a fundamental role in individual family prosperity and in the local and national economics,” Knottenbelt said. “Indeed, it could be said that if the working horse or donkey were to be removed from society, the economy of the world would collapse

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Alexandra Beckstett, a native of Houston, Texas, is a lifelong horse owner who has shown successfully on the national hunter/jumper circuit and dabbled in hunter breeding. After graduating from Duke University, she joined Blood-Horse Publications as assistant editor of its book division, Eclipse Press, before joining The Horse. She was the managing editor of The Horse for nearly 14 years and is now editorial director of EquiManagement and My New Horse, sister publications of The Horse.

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