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OIE - Welfare of Working Equids

  • 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.
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Hand labor, tractor labor and horse labor: a question of power and scale

  • "To understand why we farm the way we do today it is important to look back to where our agriculture began and how it changed. From there onward we can look at the question: Why do we farm or why would we want to farm with live horse power in small scale vegetable farming? When we look at hand labor, tractor labor and horse labor as three different power sources,where do horses fit in? From the historical perspective to a present day perspective we can shine new light on having (a) 'four legged employee(s)'."
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Animal Traction and Small-scale farming: A Stellenbosch Case Study

  • The case study of a farm, where working oxen were introduced " investigated the possibility of animal traction emerging as an affordable, environmentally-friendly and appropriate technology for small-scale farming. The findings showed that oxen were a more cost-effective means of draught power than a tractor, not only in terms of capital costs but also as maintenance and operational costs. The manure from the oxen was both an effective way of supplying crops with essential nutrients and improving soil biodiversity. The introduction of the oxen presented some challenges to the farmer concerning knowledge about how animals work and other managerial challenges, but these were overcome by learning through practice. It was found that the farmer will be able to make significant savings in soil-amendment costs and he can control the quality of the manure to suit his needs. It was concluded that small-scale farmers who choose animal traction over tractors as a means of draught power will realize many advantages in return."
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