Original Research

Socio-economic impacts of working horses in urban and peri-urban areas of the Cape Flats, South Africa

Joanna N. de Klerk, Melvyn Quan, John D. Grewar
Journal of the South African Veterinary Association | Vol 91 | a2009 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jsava.v91i0.2009 | © 2020 Joanna N. de Klerk, Melvyn Quan, John D. Grewar | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 August 2019 | Published: 16 April 2020

About the author(s)

Joanna N. de Klerk, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium; and, Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort, South Africa, Belgium
Melvyn Quan, Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort, South Africa
John D. Grewar, Equine Health Fund, Wits Health Consortium, Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

In the Cape Flats townships, Cape Town, South Africa, there are more than 250 working cart horses. They serve the community with scrap metal and garden refuse removal, human transport and the selling of goods. A questionnaire was undertaken to understand the social and economic impacts of a horse and cart in the Cape Flats on individual owners and/or drivers, their households and the community. A mixture of classical quantitative questions combined with qualitative participatory technique questions were used. A total of 100 participants took part in the questionnaire, who cart with 163 horses between them. The majority (89%) identified the cart horse income as their primary income source. Apart from the participants, an additional 716 people were supported financially through this income, where the mean number of children supported was 2.9 (95% confidence interval [CI]: ±0.42) per interviewed participant. Scrap metal transportation was the most common work and the season (winter) had a negative impact on their ability to work. The spatial extent to which a cart horses work was determined and related back to the impact on the horse and participant of the survey. It was demonstrated that the cart horse industry had an impact not only on those who worked in the industry, but also on the surrounding residents, either through their work or through supporting others with their income. This study revealed that the concepts of ‘One Health’ and ‘Health in Social-Ecological Systems’, in action as horse and human health within the Cape Flats are closely intertwined.

Keywords

cart horse; socio-economic; One Health; demographics; community; spatial epidemiology

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