SPANA | Animal Friends


SPANA is currently working their magic in seventeen countries in Europe, Asia and Africa, with permanent stations in seven of them. As well as free medicines and treatments they also provide education and training in the countries where they’re stationed in an effort to empower owners to provide better care through the lifetime of the working animals. They also help match abandoned animals to people in need, restoring livelihoods to those who may have lost them.

We've Donated £67450!

On the ninth day of Christmas Animal Friends donated to SPANA!


SPANA is a charity for the working animals of the world. Since 1923, they have improved the welfare of hardworking animals of all species, from the logging elephants of Burma and the camels of the Sahara, to the over one hundred million working donkeys, horses and mules that act as trucks, tractors and taxis across the developing world.

For animals fortunate enough to enjoy access to SPANA clinics, their vets are often the only hope of a life free from pain and suffering. SPANA not only helps but also educates, helping people learn empathy for their working animals. SPANA works on three main principles:


SPANA do some truly amazing work. Our last donation went towards their Zimbabwe Project which is a mobile clinic who travel around reaching animals that are perhaps too far away, or too sick to be taken to the hospital. This has had a huge impact on animals who would most likely remain untreated.  SPANA is providing a lifeline for animals in Zimbabwe and their owners. They are able to provide critically important veterinary care to both urban and rural working animal owners across the country thanks to the mobile clinic.

Following this our tenth 12 days of Christmas donation is to SPANA for the exciting amount of:


As always, we can’t thank our policy holders enough for continuing to use Animal Friends, as without you we would not be able to make such amazing donations.

‘That is amazing news and very exciting, of course I’m excited on behalf of all the animals who it’ll make a real difference for. Thank you so much’ – Caroline Francis Head of Major Gifts

If you want to find out more or see what SPANA are up to,  give them a follow on Twitter, Facebook or go check out their website.

Merry Christmas to all at SPANA!


In 1923, Kate Hosali and her daughter Nina witnessed appalling conditions while travelling through Africa, not least for the animals who lived and worked there. The people who owned them relied on them for labour but were poorly educated in basic care and maintenance. The owners themselves were often impoverished meaning that the animals where worked to exhaustion, undernourished and illnesses and injuries went untreated due to financial hardship and lack of knowledge. Kate resolved to provide free veterinary care to these animals, treating their wounds and injuries herself. She worked tirelessly throughout her lifetime and her legacy continues through the superb global work of SPANA.

The work that SPANA do is in constant need of financial support and this can be given in a number of ways, from cash donations to used stamps and postcards. Every penny counts towards making real changes to the lives of animals who will work to support their owners for the majority of their adulthood. You can also use their “Fill a Backpack” app to buy veterinary supplies from as little £1.54 for a tetanus shot. It’s a great way to support the charity and know exactly where your money is going. For less than the cost of a packet of biscuits you can vaccinate an animal.

The Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad (SPANA) was founded in 1923 by Kate Hosali and her daughter, Nina, after they witnessed the suffering of animals throughout their travels in North Africa. From these beginnings the charity has now grown to become one of the most active and vital animal welfare charities in the world, helping hundreds of thousands of donkeys, horses, mules, camels and livestock across Africa and the Middle East.

In addition to treating animals that are in a bad way, SPANA actively try to pass on their expertise and knowledge through their education programme by teaching children and owners about compassion and respect for animals. They are also there to help during times of conflict, drought and natural disasters, providing help to not just the animals, but also the communities that depend on them (millions of people in developing countries rely on animals for their livelihoods).

One project that brings together all aspects of SPANA’s vital work is their Lameness Programme. Lameness occurs due to overgrown feet, badly trimmed hooves and unskilled farriery and this affects many thousands of working animals worldwide. When animals develop chronic lameness they can become redundant and abandoned to face a slow and painful death. It is awful that so many animals are dying due to a lack of regular skilled hoof care.

Here at Animal Friends we have a belief that every animal has the right to lead a happy and pain-free life. This belief is at the core of our business and in order to uphold this view, we try to help with animal welfare projects as much as we can. Thus, upon hearing about SPANA’s excellent Lameness Programme we knew we had to support their great work and recently donated £40,000 to help fund the project.

So What Does the Project Entail?

First, let’s take a look at the key causes of lameness.

Poorly Fitting Shoes: If an equine has shoes that are uneven or do not fit properly, then this can cause the animal’s hooves to grow in an uneven manner leading to pain and injury and then lameness or tendon damage.

ill-fitting shoe

Neglected and Overgrown Hooves: When hooves are left untrimmed and grow excessively long, pressure is put on the wrong part of the animal’s sole, again, leading to the onset of lameness. In some cases, hooves are left to become so overgrown that the animal cannot walk without serious injury.

Nail-work: It is common for shoes to be hammered on with masonry nails. These can penetrate the sensitive areas of the hoof, causing terrible pain as well as the possibility of serious infection.

poor nailing

Lack of Knowledge and Understanding from Owners: Many owners of working animals across Africa and the Middle East do not know what to look for in terms of spotting the early signs of lameness. This is crucial as once lameness sets in it is difficult to manage.

How Does the Lameness Programme Help?

Farrier Training: SPANA works in countries such as Ethiopia, Morocco and Tunisia (where farriers have limited skills or are in desperately short supply) to prevent the suffering caused by lameness by training more farriers, teaching them about hoof balance and improving their technique for trimming and shoeing, whilst using tools they can easily obtain and afford.

Farrier Services: SPANA has a number of permanent centres and mobile clinics that have farrier technicians working to treat equines. Treatment includes trimming overgrown hooves, correcting imbalances and repairing damage caused by unskilled farriers.

Educating Owners: Promoting good animal welfare practices and educating owners are both important parts of the programme; raising awareness and increasing learning will help to prevent lameness and reduce the suffering of working animals. SPANA works closely with animal owners to improve their knowledge of lameness prevention, to enable them to see the economic benefits of having a healthier animal and to show them the impact that lameness can really have.

How Will Animal Friends’ Donation of £40,000 Help?

The donation we have made is going to allow SPANA to provide full farrier training across Ethiopia, Morocco and Tunisia. The courses will train the local people of these countries, as well as training people from the UK to go out there and work on reducing the widespread lameness that is currently affecting so many poor animals. Funds will also help with the huge day-to-day costs of the already existing farrier centres and mobile clinics that SPANA has established.

Read more about SPANA’s excellent work and see what other projects they have in place.

Earlier this year SPANA received a £5000 donation from Animal Friends for winning first place in the March ‘Charity of the Month’ competition. The funds have continued to support SPANA’s work to improve the lives of working animals across the world.

One donkey who has benefited from the donation is Mahdouda. (more…)

Without SPANA animals like this sick donkey foal would stand little chance of survival.

The foal was spotted lying on the ground in a Moroccan marketplace by twelve year old Abdelhak. As there was no mother, owner, or anybody in sight Abdelhak realised that the foal must have been abandoned. Abdelhak carefully put the foal, who he called Mensi (meaning forgotten) into his little cart and pulled him home to give him food and water. Despite this nourishment, Mensi remained weak and dejected so Abdelhak brought him 2 kilometres to the SPANA centre. Abdelhak knew about SPANA as he had visited the centre to take part in our education programme when his family had been able to afford to send him to school. (more…)