Tuesday, 5 March 2013

GAWF Equine Project

GAWF’s Equine Project was started in 1999, with the goal of alleviating the suffering of horses, donkeys and mules in Greece.

Working equines are common in Greece, and their numbers have increased in recent years. Rising unemployment has resulted in many workers relocating from cities to more rural areas, where equines are frequently used for agriculture. In less developed of Greece where there are no roads, equines are sometimes the only means of transporting produce around.

These rural areas often lack the vital resources required to keep equines healthy and happy, such as local farriers (hoof care specialists), dental technicians and vets. 

In addition, many owners are unaware of the how to care for their animals, or they simply don’t realise the level of maintenance they require.  Common problems we come across are:

  • Hobbling - restrictive binding of the animal's legs, to prevent it from wandering too far. Unbeknownst to a lot of owners, this can cause pain and serious health problems such as fractures, dislocations and tendon injuries
  • Severe tendonitis, bruised soles and foot abscesses.
  • Overgrown, twisted or diseased hooves - often a result of heavy work on hard ground, or overfeeding. Again, owners often do not know how to spot these afflictions.
  • Dental problems - left unchecked, equines can develop sharp edges on their molars, which cut their mouths and make eating difficult. This can develop into severe health problems, pain, and even death from starvation or blood loss if an artery is severed.
  • Birth problems - just like humans, equines can develop life threatening problems during birth. When a trained vet is not present, there are risks for both mother and baby.

It is vital for the health and well-being of working equines in Greece that we are able to give care directly to these animals, and educate people on how to look after them. 

Taking Action
In the early days, we found that people were wary of our motives and suspicious of our credentials. How were people to know that we wouldn’t damage their animal’s feet and leave it lame and unable to work for weeks? Over time, we demonstrated that we have all the necessary training, professionalism and qualifications to help these animals, and we have built up a name that is well known and trusted throughout Greece.

How does GAWF help?
Your donations help by funding GAWF to:
  • advise and instruct owners on how to care for their animals
  • send outreach teams (usually an equine farrier, vet  and equine dentist) to visit equines
  • offer treatment to over 1,250 equines every year, including 100’s of life-saving procedures
  • train Greek veterinary students and fund courses for them in Greece and the UK
  • provide instructional materials and training guides for those working in the field.
Please help us to continue by donating on our website. We desperately need funds to continue our Equine Project, so we can not only prevent equine suffering, but ensure that many poor people in Greece are able to make a living during the economic slump.

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