They’re strong and dependable. They’re gentle and loyal. They have helped along the human civilization, participating in police work, transportation, hunting, and other activities.
We are talking about animals, of course. They have worked alongside humans for centuries. But is it still essential for them to do so?
Believed to be domesticated about 4,000 years ago, horses have accompanied man through its quest for progress. They pulled wagons and carriages, carried people and heavy loads, and participated in races and other sports.
Horses are sensitive and social animals, but there are barely any laws to protect them. Unpredictable weather and vehicle exhaust make the streets an unfavorable place for any animal to work in, especially while pulling carriages several times their own weight. It is also terribly unhealthy for them since they have small stomachs – they need to graze all day just to eat enough.
And once a horse stops being useful, they may end up being neglected, abused, abandoned, or even put down. Rarely do they get rescued and rehabilitated.
How to help: Don’t ride horses or the carriages they pull.
Donkeys are common in developing countries. A few hundred years back, people found it practical to use them, but even with cheaper transportation options available today, they are still being used for labor.
They are often overworked and made to carry baggage several times their own weight. Once they can no longer work because of injury or old age, they end up being disposed of.
How to help: When traveling, don’t carry a bag you can’t handle, and opt to walk instead of riding a donkey.
It’s hard to recall a time when dogs aren’t there by our side. We have dogs working with the police and army, helping in farms, and assisting individuals with special needs. However, they are sometimes considered expendable once they no longer serve their purpose.
Depending on local and national laws, they may end up being euthanized if they’re not lucky enough to find an adoptive home. Some of them are put down because of old age or “behavioral issues”, despite the fact that any retired working dog can be helped to adjust to a life at home and no dog is too old to be taken care of.
In the Philippines, Hound Haven helps retired K9s and rehabilitates them so they can adjust to their future families. Any dog is worth the effort.
How to help: Adopt don’t shop
These are our very own domesticated water buffalos, also known as beasts of burden. They have been constantly present in the agricultural scene. They remain companions to farmers, even with new and efficient machines that can take their place.
We never stopped to question whether or not these animals like what they are doing. They sometimes end up being overworked or forced to do labor – it’s what is expected of them if they are to be given food to survive. It’s rare for a farmer to keep a carabao they’re not able to work with, so most of the time these gentle creatures eventually get sold or butchered for meat.
How to help: Support agricultural projects that promote the use of cost effective machines and elect politicians who support these projects.
Working things out
More animals feel exhausted – and more resources are exhausted – when they are bred and raised to do work. The development of eco-friendly and cost-effective technology can not only save animals from a life of slavery, but also lessen the toll on our planet. As an intelligent species, man can figure out how to be these animals’ guardians, instead of using them like objects.