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Mules have been perfecting their catwalk turns in the High Atlas mountains in Morocco for a beauty contest run by H&H’s charity of the year SPANA.

The annual “Best Kept Mule” competition was founded by the charity to reward good animal ownership in between the charity’s monthly mobile clinic visits. SPANA vets award points throughout the year for the mule’s maintenance and the winners are those who have accumulated the most.

Mule awards  1 (credit - Anne Heslop)

Jeremy Hulme, SPANA’s chief executive, said: “In a region where mules provide the working backbone of the community these awards have given local people a new perspective on the importance of animal welfare.

“By promoting the awards we have captured the imagination of the community and provided an incentive for owners to treat their mules well throughout the year.

Mule awards  3 (credit Anne Heslop)

“From modest beginnings, these awards have grown more popular every year and fostered good-natured competition amongst owners to keep their animals in better condition. As a result the mules are receiving a much higher standard of life than we could have hoped for.”

Four villages now enter the competition and winning owners receive a small financial sum and a bag of barley to feed their animals.

Mule awards  2 (credit - Anne Heslop)

H&H’s Sophia Heath will be heading to Morocco with H&H’s charity of the year SPANA to witness its work first-hand later this month.
Don’t miss her coverage online and report in August. 

For more on working equines don’t miss this week’s issue of H&H (10 July).

All pictures courtesy of Anne Heslop