Emergency appeal to help equine essential workers amid Covid-19 pandemic

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An animal health practitioner at work in India.
An animal health practitioner at work in India. © Atul Loke/Panos Pictures/Brooke

An emergency appeal has been launched to support working horses, donkeys and mules playing an essential role in ensuring communities in developing countries still have access to food, water and medical transport.

As Covid-19 continues to spread around the world, international animal welfare charity Brooke has launched the appeal to ensure these animals still receive the support they need as fears grow around the devastating impact this deadly virus could have on the developing world.

Covid-19 has reached every country where Brooke works and more governments are introducing tough restrictions on the movement of people to try to control the spread. Among these are India and Pakistan, which have been placed under total lockdown and West Africa’s worst affected country, Burkina Faso, where curfews are in place.

But horses, donkeys are mules are still working every day in difficult conditions to support millions of people. Brooke’s long-term sustainable approach of training local vets, farriers and animal health workers means that these animals are currently still receiving support within their communities. But as communities face huge challenges to their resilience and livelihoods, their animals will feel the brunt of this impact, too.

Petra Ingram, Brooke CEO, said that around the world, families have had to make adjustments to their daily lives in order to stop the spread of this deadly disease.

“These adjustments have been even tougher for the millions of people across the developing world who depend on working horses, donkeys and mules for food, water and medical transport.

“Now more than ever, these animals are essential. It’s so important that we continue to champion the welfare of these animals so that they can continue to keep their communities safe,” Ingram said.

Across its countries of operation, Brooke has swapped physical contact for contact via phone, radio and social media, meaning that owners and vets are still receiving medical advice and assistance, and government messages are being distributed to vulnerable and marginalised communities. In Pakistan, Brooke’s women’s equine welfare groups are using their sewing skills to make protective face masks.

As people around the world come to terms with ever-changing restrictions on their daily lives, working horses, donkeys and mules are a constant and their role is more essential than ever.

» Brooke’s emergency appeal

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