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TAWS in El Salvador

 
Improving the Management, Health and Nutrition of Transport Animals in El Salvador

Summary of a project currently being run in El Salvador by TAWS, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agricultural, El Salvador and the International League for the Protection of Horses. An evaluation of this project is also available **here.

Background

The veterinary services of the government of El Salvador have never been well developed even though in the 1980s the Inter American Development Bank invested US$ 6,000,000 in its

Photo: Pack horse in El Salvador by Paul Starkey

infrastructure and built a number of laboratories.

The newly elected Salvadoran government, faced with a financial position weakened by the civil war (1981-1992), the slump in world market prices of its chief commodities (coffee and sugar), and the effects of hurricane Mich, determined to privatise most of its services.  For the vast majority of farmers therefore, who are totally dependant on horsepower, veterinary services are going to be even less available than before.

The average annual income in the rural areas was US $500 and some 34% of people were living in conditions of poverty but after the massive earthquake in December and more than 2000 lesser quakes since, these statistics can only have deteriorated further.  There has also been a marked movement from rural to urban populations.

There are some 120,000 working equines in El Salvador.  Though cyclical with the seasons, their condition and welfare is often poor reflecting poor nutrition and heavy parasitism; nor is management good, foot care and harness fitting are often inadequate.
The government of El Salvador invited TAWS to set up a scheme designed to help farmers to improve the health, management and welfare and therefore the working capacity of their animals. A pilot project was started in 1999 in the northern mountainous region of Metapan in the Department of Santa Ana.

The project is co-ordinated in El Salvador by Dr Ernesto Calderon and for TAWS by Mr Clive Woodham (who was employed from 1970 to 1992 by the IADB in Latin America, including El Salvador).

Project Summary

The goal of the project is to help to sustain small farmers on their farms by increasing their annual income.  This will be attained through the project outputs, the improvement in the welfare of the working equines, i.e. In shoeing, harnessing and health and thereby, in their condition and fitness for work.  These can be assessed by the prevalence of foot defects, lameness and of harness sores and by the assessment of mean condition scores of the animals.

Activities

A. Veterinary Services: To train Salvadoran Veterinary Officers to be able to run a Veterinary  Investigation Laboratory, to investigate disease problems and to run local village clinics: also to select key individual farmers for training under B.

B. Education: i) To offer 1 week refresher courses for Salvadoran veterinary surgeons and ii) To train small farmers in shoeing, harness making and the management of equines and in seeking help with health problems.

Veterinary Services

Veterinary diagnostic laboratories were set up in the 1980s with aid from IADB but they are largely unused.  It is intended to begin by developing the Central Laboratory of the Ministry of Agriculture. Three Veterinary Officers will receive scholarships through TAWS for three months training in appropriate veterinary establishments in the UK.

1. Equine Clinical Studies. Dr Manuel Ramirez was the first recipient, and he was in the UK during May to August 2000.  He is now assistant to Dr Ernesto Calderon in the co-ordination of the project.  His duties will include arranging local village clinics and the selection of farmers for education courses under B.  In addition he will seek funding for further development of the project.

2. Laboratory Techniques in relation to equine disease, especially parasitism and the management and administration of laboratories.  We hope that this scholarship will take place soon.

3. The use of computer software for the management of data employed in the execution of small veterinary projects.

Education

Small farmers have been receiving training in farriery, harness making, nutrition and management in courses at the National School of Agriculture run by teams provided by the International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH).  Since November 1999 three courses have been held and more than 50 have received training.  Biannual courses will continue for at least a further 2 years.

A refresher course for veterinary surgeons was run by TAWS over a week in November 2000.  This will be an annual event.

Evaluation

The government of El Salvador, TAWS and ILPH are developing procedures to monitor the progress of the project. These will include the assessment of condition scores and the prevalence of foot defects and sores in a defined population of animals.  It will also include assessment of the improvement in the social and economic condition of the rural beneficiaries and the strengthening of government services.

CONTACT INFORMATION

 

Postal Address

 

World Association for Transport Animal Welfare and Studies
Hardwick Court Farm, Hardwick Lane
Chertsey, Surrey, KT16 0AD, United Kingdom
Telephone 01932 564366 (+ 44 1932 564366)
Fax 01932 567837 (+ 44 1932 567837)
Email Suzanne Rogers

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