Chain bridles are common and can cause serious injury.

Since the provision of a generous grant from the Brooke last year, PAL’s dedicated volunteer team has been working with three Palestinian communities to improve the welfare of working horse and donkeys.

In Palestine, a large number of horses and donkeys are used as working animals; some in tourism, some in farming and others for recreation (riding). To date, no assessment has ever been made of the major welfare challenges facing the animals and PAL’s work in the last six months has sought to do just that. Working with a Bedouin community in tourist destination, Wadi Qult, with a farming community in Tulkarm and with a riding school in Turmus Aaya, the teams have begun to build productive working relationships with the horse and donkey owners and changes for the better have already been seen.

Said Ahmad Safi, Executive Director of PAL:

“We recognise that there are a huge number of issues facing working animals in Palestine but, at this stage, it is unrealistic to simply demand that the use of animals stops – even though in many cases, this would be the way to solve the welfare issues once and for all. So our approach is pragmatic and inclusive. We work with the local communities to identify the major issues facing both owners and animals, and work to help improve the situation as best we can”.

The project has been running for six months but had to be put on hold for over a month at the end of last year as an upsurge in violence in the West Bank made travel from place to place dangerous for the PAL team. Once it was safe to do so, the team were back in the communities, working hard.


Simple changes, such as a soft bridle, can improve welfare immediately while bigger problems are tackled.

PAL’s dedicated vet student team have already given health checks and provided basic first aid to around 150 donkeys and horses. They have also provided advice to owners and have noted significant progress with regard to basic welfare provision as a result.

Dalal Hennawi, volunteer team leader in Wadi Qult noted:

“When we first visited the community in September 2015, the donkeys were tied up in the hot sun with no access to food or water. They had chain bridles which were digging into their muzzles; probably causing some pain. Following discussion with the donkeys’ owners, we were delighted to see the donkeys with soft material bridles and constant access to food and water the next time we visited the site”.

Mr Safi is keen to state that poor welfare is not necessary a direct result of deliberate cruelty. He said:

“It has been interesting for us to see just how much cultural and societal perceptions influence the treatment of animals. For example donkeys are truly believed to be more hardy animals than most and so owners held the genuine belief that they didn’t need regular access to fresh water or food. They are also known to be headstrong animals and so we have seen many chain bridles being used. These are completely unnecessary and likely to cause significant pain in some cases, but owners are advised that this is the only way to guide the donkeys. So many improvements can be made simply by understanding these misguided beliefs and working together in breaking them down”.


PAL’s vet and volunteer team give a working pony a health check.

The project seeks to implement community action plans which will be led by the animal owners themselves and supported by PAL. A training day for all community participants will be held in the coming weeks, where PAL’s consultant equine vet will provide vital information on first aid and preventative treatment.

The key to the project’s success will be effective cooperation with the local communities involved. PAL sincerely hopes that the relationships with these communities and their animals will mark the beginning of long-term and sustainable change in the way in which horses and donkeys experience life in the West Bank.  The project continues.

Love a Donkey, Help a Horse! 

donkeyOur current grant funding will allow us to develop the community action plans with each of the three communities we are currently working with. But we need your help to ensure that whatever plans are made can be delivered effectively and in the long-term. In order to support PAL’s equine welfare work, we have established our “Love a Donkey, Help a Horse” scheme which allows our international supporters to make a real difference to the lives of donkeys and horses in Palestine. We would like to invite you to be part of this groundbreaking work – your support will literally be helping to save lives.

Please join our scheme today by making  a donation to our “Love a Donkey, Help a Horse” scheme. You will receive a personalised e-certificate to acknowledge your generous support. You can even make the donation on behalf of a friend and we can make the certificate in their name; making a thoughtful gift for the animal lover in your life*.

£24 will pay for our team to visit a rural community and give health checks and basic first aid to up to 30 donkeys and horses.
Yes! I want to keep horses and donkeys healthy![wp_cart_button name=”DONK24″ price=”24.00″ shipping=”0.00″]
£50 will pay for a vital equipment for our vet team to allow them to work with owners and provide treatment on site in the communities for animals too ill to be transported to a vet clinic.
Yes! I want to make sure the vet team are equipped to help animals![wp_cart_button name=”DONK50″ price=”50.00″ shipping=”0.00″]
£100 will allow us to provide a one-day training workshop for up to five horse and donkey owners in welfare, husbandry and preventative medicine.
Yes! I want to ensure that people are given the skills they need to care for donkeys and horses![wp_cart_button name=”DONK100″ price=”100.00″ shipping=”0.00″]

*Simply make include a note at the check-out stage of your order to confirm your friend’s name to be included on the certificate. If no notes are included, we will add the payer’s name to the certificate.