Cart Horse
Photo Credit: Jodi Efune

The Cart Horse Protection Association in Cape Town has worked hard to offer support to cart horse owners during the pandemic, feeding 364 horses.


Cape Town, South Africa (29 July 2021) – Thanks to the generous support of donors, 364 horses were supported through the first year of the pandemic. The Cart Horse Protection Association has been doing research to see how the pandemic has affected the horses, their owners and their future working conditions.

Cart horses are still used as working animals in the Cape Flats of the Western Cape. They play a vital role in the community but their care is sometimes not up to standard. The Cart Horse Protection Association helps keep the horses and donkeys fed and supported medically.

The Cart Horse Protection Association spent R130 425 to distribute 1739 bales of oat hay to 99 owners, feeding 364 horses during the pandemic and still continue to support owners wherever necessary. If you would like to support the association, you can find out more via their website or Facebook.

A study conducted by the World Horse Welfare showed that people dependant on their donkeys or horses for an income were acutely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This included the carting community from the Cape flats, in Cape Town South Africa.

World Horse Welfare Research

In December and November of 2020 World Horse Welfare, with the assistance of the Cart Horse Protection Association, conducted a research study to try and determine the effects of COVID-19 on the working equid community. This was part of a worldwide study that included countries from Latin America, Asia and Africa.

It is estimated that there are 100-112 million working equids worldwide, who provide a source of income for some of the poorest people around the globe. This study concluded that worldwide, equids were working less, income had decreased and expenses had increased compared to before the pandemic.

Forty-three cart horse owners and drivers residing in the Cape Flats, Cape Town, were interviewed. Each of them supported an average of 6.27 family members. An earlier research study conducted by De Klerk et al, determined that these family members consisted of an average of 2.2 adults and 2.9 children. According to the De Klerk et al study, nearly half of the “carties” earned their living by collecting scrap metal while about a third collected garden refuse for a fee.

Now however, with COVID, people were afraid to come out of their houses and also a lot of people were struggling themselves and were more likely to hand in their own scrap metal rather than give it away. In the South African sample, 86% of the respondents depended on their horses for 100% of their income and their income had decreased during lockdown and the pandemic. Forty percent said that their cost of upkeep of their horses had increased while 42.5% said it had stayed the same. It is no surprise that the majority (83.7%) of respondents said their total household income had decreased. Many had to turn to family and friends for help as well as the temporary government grants. However, 21% still believed that they were financially better off than other members in their community that did not own working horses. Understandably, 67.4% of them are experiencing severe anxiety while another 16.3% are experiencing moderate anxiety due to uncertainty brought by COVID-19. Sixty-three percent said the most beneficial aid to them in these times would be financial support.

According to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) the pandemic is predicted to cause severe problems relating to animal welfare as owners will be unable to afford feed and healthcare for their animals in the wake of the predicted economic recession.

Due to the horses not being able to work so much their body conditions (according to the owners’ opinions) increased. 74.42% indicated that they knew feed relief scheme, partially funded by World Horse Welfare, run by CHPA, was available to them and while 55.9% used it to help them keep their horses fed.

Sources: Press Release
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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