They plod and toil in the dangerous urban canyons of Latin American cities under the most abject conditions. Driven and whipped on by their owners, the rubbish collectors, they haul rickety old carts, overloaded with piles of bulky items and garbage. They are the rubbish-collection horses.
As the cheapest method of transport around, the horses cart waste materials from the city’s rubbish dumps and streets to sell on to recycling firms. Often not given enough food, water or rest, often brutally treated, these poor creatures are worked until they drop dead.
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To counteract this suffering, still widespread throughout Latin America, in 2013 Fondation Franz Weber set up the Sanctuary Equidad in San Marcos Sierra, central Argentina.
At Equidad, the foundation takes in freed rubbish-collection horses, provides them with medical care, looks after them and gives them a new life in peace and dignity. It is a campaign that is making excellent progress. Thousands of horses have now been released across Latin America, having been replaced by motorised vehicles.
Yet there is still much to do. Tens of thousands of rubbish-collection horses are waiting to be freed in Argentina alone. There is great support for the movement within government and society. Yet the mills of legislation occasionally grind slowly, so plenty of patience is needed.
170 horses and 13 donkeys currently live at Equidad (as of February 2019). After a miserable existence knowing nothing but drudgery, suffering and mistreatment, they have begun a new life here. That’s reason enough for our team to give its new charges all the more love and care.