Established 1870
A Division of the British Veterinary Association

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Minutes of a General Meeting of the Society held on Wednesday 19th October 2005, at Royal Holloway College, Egham, Surrey.

Present:  the President Mr. C. Boyde and 29 Fellows and guests.

Apologies for absence had been received from 22 Fellows.

Minutes of the meeting held on 31st May 2005 had been circulated and were approved.

Matters arising:  none.

Correspondence:  none.

Any Other Business:  none

The President then welcomed the speaker, Miss Karen Jones, who gave a presentation about the work of the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad.

SPANA is an animal welfare charity which also believes in helping the people who depend on working animals for their livelihood.  It was founded in 1923 by Kate and Nina Hosali, a British mother and daughter who were shocked by the condition of the animals they saw while on holiday in North Africa.  They worked tirelessly to improve the conditions of the animals, recruiting locals to dress and clean wounds, and educating local animal owners.  Today the Society provides free veterinary care to poor owners of working animals, advises and educates owners in health and management, and is extensively involved in undergraduate and postgraduate education.  Originally the countries involved were Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria, but it has now expanded to eight countries.

Miss Jones explained that she had joined SPANA 3 years ago, after spending half her working life overseas.  Her rôle as veterinary director is to ensure that the veterinary programmes are running smoothly, and that overseas staff have the necessary training and resources.  This involves spending 40% of her time overseas, with the rest in the UK organising, planning, and overseeing fundraising activities.  The clinics are not sanctuaries, and the aim is to return animals to useful work after treatment.  Most patients are working equines, but there is some small animal work and nothing is ever turned away.  Problems include nutrition, farriery, harnessing, overwork and disease.  Some of Miss Jones's anecdotes were truly remarkable, such as donkeys living on rubbish tips, and the use of cardboard as donkey fodder.  A "bit exchange" programme to replace the vicious traditional bits has been in operation for several decades, and innovations in harnessing and tethering methods were significantly improving welfare standards.  Diseases seldom seen in the developed world are common, such as tetanus, farcy and fistulous withers.  Miss Jones's wide-ranging talk covered a fascinating spectrum from tropical medicine to third-world farriery, and was warmly received by Fellows and guests.

The President then presented the 2005-06 Victory Medal to Miss Jones, who accepted it as an honour shared between herself and SPANA.

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