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‘All My Animals Are Equal, but None Can Survive without the Horse’. The Contribution of Working Equids to the Livelihoods of Women across Six Communities in the Chimaltenango Region of Guatemala

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16 Penybont, Govilon, Abergavenny NP7 9RA, UK
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Dogs Trust, 17 Wakley Street, London EC1V 7RQ, UK
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The Donkey Sanctuary, Slade House Farm, Sidmouth, Devon EX10 0NU, UK
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Easter Bush Campus, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), Edinburgh EH25 9RG, UK
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Academic Editors: Joanna Hockenhull and Tamzin Furtado
Animals 2021, 11(6), 1509; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11061509
Received: 31 March 2021 / Revised: 14 May 2021 / Accepted: 21 May 2021 / Published: 22 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horse-Human Interactions and Their Implication for Equine Welfare)
Working equids are often absent from higher level policy interventions, and the global standard of their welfare is low. Understanding the social and cultural context of their contributions to human livelihoods generates evidence supporting the importance of their inclusion in livestock welfare programmes. Although there is increasing evidence globally that working equids contribute to women’s livelihoods and that women facilitate equid welfare, there is a well recognised gender gap in access to extension services. This study aims to investigate how working equids contribute to women’s livelihoods in six communities in Guatemala, using information from 34 face-to-face interviews. Results show that working equids support women’s livelihoods by generating income, saving time, feeding livestock and reducing domestic drudgery. Thirty-two women played a major role in the daily husbandry of working equids, and 31 expressed an interest in gaining more knowledge in equid care. This study explores the relationship between working equids and women in a local context, using the concept of ‘One Welfare’, and investigates the knowledge gaps that exist in the daily husbandry of horses, donkeys and mules. It emphasises the need for equid welfare organisations to understand women’s roles in their target communities and recognise what prevents women from accessing educational resources.
It is widely assumed that working equid husbandry is carried out by men, and women are often not recognised as facilitating equid welfare. The aim of this study is to investigate how working equids contribute to women’s livelihoods in six of the World Horse Welfare programme target communities in Guatemala and determine what roles women have in their care. Thirty-four face-to-face interviews were carried out and data were analysed using both quantitative and qualitative methods. This study found that working equids support women by reducing domestic drudgery, generating income, feeding livestock and saving time. Thirty-two women played a major role in the care of one or more equids, and overall, women did not feel that they knew enough about equid husbandry. Thirty-one women said they would attend training opportunities if the advertising was clear and they felt that women were able to join. This study recognises the contribution of working equids to women’s livelihoods, describes the roles women play in equid husbandry and addresses the discrepancies between women’s roles and their capacity to undertake these tasks. This emphasises the need for extension services to include and cater for women, improving equid welfare and their ability to continue supporting women’s livelihoods. View Full-Text
Keywords: working equids; animal welfare; women; gender roles; Central America; extension services; education working equids; animal welfare; women; gender roles; Central America; extension services; education
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MDPI and ACS Style

Vasanthakumar, M.A.; Upjohn, M.M.; Watson, T.L.; Dwyer, C.M. ‘All My Animals Are Equal, but None Can Survive without the Horse’. The Contribution of Working Equids to the Livelihoods of Women across Six Communities in the Chimaltenango Region of Guatemala. Animals 2021, 11, 1509. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11061509

AMA Style

Vasanthakumar MA, Upjohn MM, Watson TL, Dwyer CM. ‘All My Animals Are Equal, but None Can Survive without the Horse’. The Contribution of Working Equids to the Livelihoods of Women across Six Communities in the Chimaltenango Region of Guatemala. Animals. 2021; 11(6):1509. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11061509

Chicago/Turabian Style

Vasanthakumar, Molly A., Melissa M. Upjohn, Tamlin L. Watson, and Cathy M. Dwyer. 2021. "‘All My Animals Are Equal, but None Can Survive without the Horse’. The Contribution of Working Equids to the Livelihoods of Women across Six Communities in the Chimaltenango Region of Guatemala" Animals 11, no. 6: 1509. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11061509

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