KEY workers in Britain are rightly receiving the recognition and appreciation they deserve, with NHS staff, care workers and delivery drivers among the professions that have been praised for their heroic efforts this year.

But, some of the most essential workers in developing countries worldwide are continually overlooked and neglected.

Working animals play a key role in the world’s poorest communities and help provide a livelihood for more than half a billion people.

An estimated 200 million working horses, donkeys, camels and elephants are relied upon to transport goods, food, water and firewood.

By doing the jobs of trucks, tractors and taxis, this invisible workforce ensures the survival of poverty-stricken families.

However, these animals often endure appalling conditions, with poor nutrition and no access to veterinary treatment when they are sick or injured.

At the animal charity SPANA (the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad), we believe that working animals overseas should receive the respect, compassion and vital veterinary care they desperately need.

On International Working Animal Day (November 19), please find out how you can show your support for these hardworking animals by visiting

Geoffrey Dennis.

Chief Executive, SPANA