World Environment Day: How well cared for working donkeys, horses and mules help create a safe, sustainable world

June 5th, World Environment Day.

The Donkey Sanctuary and World Horse Welfare have issued a joint video on World Environment Day to highlight the important role that well cared for donkeys, horses and mules play in creating a safe and sustainable world.

 A short video address by Mike Baker, CEO of The Donkey Sanctuary and Roly Owers, CEO of World Horse Welfare explain that:

 In many of the poorest communities in the world it is accepted that working donkeys, horses and mules are crucial to livelihoods, food production, access to safe water, gender empowerment and to providing the means to allow children to access education.

On World Environment Day, it is important to understand the role that donkeys, horses and mules play in the battle against climate change and in coping with the consequences of it.

Mike Baker, the CEO of The Donkey Sanctuary said:

In many parts of the world, donkeys, mules and horses are crucial to building safe and sustainable communities and are also key in recovery efforts after natural disasters, transporting food and vital supplies to areas that other forms of transportation would struggle to reach.

 Donkeys and mules are suited to arid zones and can support the future wellbeing of communities by helping people to adapt to climate change. They provide a vital service to millions of people while avoiding the damaging carbon emissions and environmental damage associated with modern agricultural machinery. Only last year a UN Environment Programme referred to donkeys as an important source of carbon neutral transport”. 

Roly Owers, CEO of World Horse Welfare said:

 We need to rebalance our partnership with animals and the planet.  We need to challenge the status quo – both in our partnership with each other and with animals. 

The stark reality is that in the 21st century across the globe there are over 100million working horses, donkeys and mules supporting the livelihoods of over 600million people, many of whom are the poorest in society.  Through providing transport, access to water and medical, draught power and bringing goods to markets, these working animals help people make a living to feed their families.

Join us in saying that in order to better prepare and mitigate the effects of climate change and improve the lives of people, it is essential to improve the lives of working animals”.

You can view the video below


  • The Donkey Sanctuary, founded in 1969, has grown from a charity rescuing UK donkeys from neglect to an international animal welfare organisation transforming the lives of millions of donkeys and mules, and people depending on them for their livelihood. The charity’s vision is a world where donkeys live free from suffering, and their contribution to humanity is fully valued. The Donkey Sanctuary runs 10 sanctuaries in the UK and Europe, giving lifelong care to over 6,000 donkeys and mules; it also works in almost 40 countries for animals in agriculture, industry and transportation, as well as those used in meat and skin production. 
  • World Horse Welfare is an international horse charity that improves the lives of horses in the UK and worldwide through education, campaigning and hands-on care of horses. Since we were founded in 1927, our whole approach has been practical, based on scientific evidence and our extensive experience, and focused on delivering lasting change across the full spectrum of the horse world. Our international programmes alleviate the suffering of thousands of working horses by providing essential knowledge and skills to horse owning communities in 16 countries across Africa, Latin America and Asia.


For more information, please contact:

Ian Cawsey, Director of Advocacy & Campaigns at The Donkey Sanctuary +44 (0) 7774 216870

 Jessica Stark, Director of Communications & Public Affairs at World Horse Welfare  +44 (0) 1953 497260



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