Charity works to help India’s flood-stricken equines

A Brooke India veterinary assistant cum community motivator (VACM) conducting a health check-up of equines in the flood-affected area. © Brooke
A Brooke India veterinary assistant cum community motivator (VACM) conducts a health check-up of equines in the flood-affected area. © Brooke

Treatment and relief for nearly 1400 flood-stricken equines and their owners in India has been provided by international working equine charity Brooke, following devastating floods and landslides during July and August in the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Together with the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and local partners including the Animal Help Foundation, Brooke India provided clean drinking water, shelter, feed, and veterinary support to 450 equines in the Maharashtra region and 907 equines in the Gujarat region.

Across India, more than 270 people were killed and more than a million people were displaced from their homes as heavy downpours caused houses and small huts to be severely damaged. People took refuge in temples, schools and government institutions, whilst animals were moved to safer, higher ground.

As the water levels began to recede, equine owners were slowly moved back to their villages and began to reconstruct shelters for the animals. Brooke India continued to provide veterinary assistance to those horses, donkeys and mules worst affected by the floods – 20 in Maharashtra and 24 in Gujarat.

Whilst heavy rain is to be expected in India throughout the months of June to September, climate scientists have warned that rising global temperatures have led to an increase in the likelihood of extreme weather events such as droughts and heavy rains.

Communities across the world are reliant on working horses, donkeys and mules to carry out tasks such as water collection, transport and building, so Brooke is working with the United Nations and national policymakers to raise awareness of the vital role these animals play in boosting resilience to extreme weather events.

As communities within these regions begin to recover, Brooke India will continue to ensure the availability of food, water, and medicine by linking the community with local providers. Brooke India will also provide equines with deworming, vaccinations and health check-ups through local health providers.

The second most populous country in the world, India is also home to an estimated 1.1 million working horses, donkeys and mules. Brooke India was established in 1992 to promote better welfare standards and provide treatment to those animals in need. In more recent years, Brooke India has moved away from offering free treatment, instead focusing on the wider Brooke approach of improving the skills and knowledge of local health providers on the ground so that treatment is more readily available. The charity reached 279,922 working equines throughout 2017 and 2018.

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