Dear Editor,   

The critical impact of plastic pollution on our planet is now well documented – it is estimated the UK alone produces more than 30,000 tonnes of plastic waste that is littered or not recycled each year.  

Yet although the consequences of plastic pollution may now be better understood, there is very little awareness of the deadly impact of plastic waste on working animals across the world. 

In vulnerable communities, plastic waste is threatening the survival of working donkeys, horses, camels and other animals dedicated to supporting people's livelihoods.

With economic pressures now building across the globe, many hungry working animals are supplementing their minimal feed by grazing in areas which expose them to toxic plastics, sharp needles and plastic bags and bottles. 

The impact on working animals can be life-threatening, and is often fatal without urgent intervention. 

SPANA works across the world providing lifesaving care and support to working animals threatened by plastic pollution and other environmental and human-induced crises. Through essential veterinary support, we are able to offer a lifeline to animals in desperate need. 

We are working to transform the welfare of working animals in a world where animals, people and the environment are respected and thrive. These animals have a vital role supporting the livelihoods of families worldwide. 

On International Working Animal Day (15 June), please find out how you can show your support for these animals by visiting   

Linda Edwards  

Chief Executive, SPANA (the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad)