Rewarding improvements in pony welfare in Cambodia
Cambodia is a developing country that is still considered one of the poorest countries in the world. Outside the city of Phnom Penh many communities still rely on a family pony as the main source of transport for people and goods. Cambodia has a population of around 14,000 ponies and typical welfare concerns include exhaustion (from being overworked in hot conditions with too great a load), lameness, colic, injury, wounds and inappropriate care.
The Cambodian Pony Welfare Organisation (CPWO) is working to encourage pony owners to change the way they manage and work their animals by reducing key welfare problems and preventing the suffering from happening in the first place. Owners are now providing their ponies with water in their stables, ensuring their loads are balanced and increasing the size of the stables so that they have somewhere comfortable to rest. They have great pride in the changes made and a real desire to share their knowledge.
CFAF’s partnership with the CPWO rewards the owners who make changes for their ponies by funding a scheme whereby they can receive certificates as a pledge of their ongoing commitment. In addition, more significant changes to the pony’s welfare are rewarded with small useful items such as hoof picks, fly fringes, brushes and buckets (only very basic items but each cost more than a day’s earnings for many owners).
Rinda Nop, Senior Vet for CPWO describes the changes he has seen: “Many of the ponies are now fed more appropriately, with less bran and more grasses and many are receiving calcium supplements. Many owners now understand to give more water to their pony. Owners are kinder to their ponies than 5 years ago – they have watched us handle their pony in a more gentle way and they understand not to over work their pony to the level that was happening before”
2nd June 2014 written by Piseth Hang, Senior Vet, CPWO:
“Today CPWO vets visited one pony owner at Leuk Dek district. We saw some changes from this guy. Before he did not care whether to keep his pony in shade or under the sun but now he always keep his pony in shade with food and water when he stop using his pony. Before he don't care about the stable even it small, dirty or no mosquito net but now he made a big clean stable with mosquito net and food and water available all time. Before he believed that giving more sugar make his pony strong that'd why he gave a lot of sugar to his pony in the past (luckily his pony did not have laminitis) but now he give salt instead of sugar to his pony because he knows the essential of salt to his pony.”