THE National University of Lesotho (NUL), World Horse Welfare and Agriculture Ministry recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the commencement of a three-year project to improve the care and welfare of horses and donkeys in the country.
World Horse Welfare is an international horse charity dedicated to the care of horses in the United Kingdom and other parts of the world through education, campaigning and hands-on care. Founded in 1927, they use a practical approach based on scientific evidence and extensive experience to deliver lasting change across the full spectrum of the horse world.
The envisaged project aims to cater for up to 5 000 horses and donkeys with additional training and support being provided to 80 district extension staff and other government officials.
World Horse Welfare Regional Coordinator in South Africa, Penny Ward said the project in the Maseru and Mafeteng Districts would include regular clinics to treat animals as well as training to help government extension officials and horse owners to provide proper care.
Ms Ward said very little care was provided despite the fact that horses and donkeys played a central role in rural households as mode of transport and as a significant cultural symbol of the Basotho nation.
“Very little attention is ever paid to the welfare of these animals,” Ms Ward said, adding, “Due to their remote location where there is no access to services and medication, many animals suffer from curable diseases, untreated injuries, unsuitable tack and poor nutrition”.
“Until now, there were no projects in Lesotho to promote care and welfare of horses and donkeys and they mostly go unnoticed by government and policy makers.
“By working together, NUL and World Horse Welfare aim to shine the spotlight on these invisible animals to get them the help they need,” Ms Ward said.
She said local communities would be able to bring their animals to the regular community welfare clinics for treatment and deworming.
She said the public would also receive advice and education about animal husbandry.