In an attempt to retire working horses, the Animal Welfare Department of the government of Antioquia has begun the search for citizens to adopt horses living in difficult conditions. The purpose of the Animal Welfare and Protection Management of Antioquia is to allow rescued horses to live with a family who has land and can give them retirement from work and good care.

This campaign not only aims to address working horses but any other horse that needs rescuing. For instance, in October 2022, the National Police carried out an operation to dismantle a clandestine slaughterhouse, which sold horse meat in the municipality of Copacabana. They found 11 horses in terrible conditions, and the eight survivors need to be rehomed now. But the “Adopt a Horse, Transform a Life” campaign started as a strategy of the government of Antioquia to replace the 660 existing animal-drawn vehicles in the Department. Governor Aníbal Gaviria has said it will invest 14,000 million Colombian pesos, most of which were raised through the royalty system, for the programme that aims to replace working horses with vehicles. This program is part of a wider plan to eradicate animal-drawn vehicles in the country, led by Deputy Álvaro Múnera — repented ex-bullfighter who became an animal protectionist. 

Projects like this have been successful in other countries, as is the case of Argentina where the vegan activist Alejandra García runs a horse sanctuary called Equidad. But when there is not a sanctuary ready to look after the horses, the next option is to look for residents that can look after them. People in Antioquia who wish to apply as adopters must meet specific requirements related to feeding, environment, health and veterinary care, in addition to demonstrating solvency. Those who think qualify can write to adoptuncaballo@antioquia.gov.co. There is also a WhatsApp group created for this purpose using the following Colombian number: 322 4187338

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.