As India battles a devastating Covid-19 crisis, with a record 414,188 new infections on May 7, an equine charity is launching an emergency appeal to support communities and their working horses and donkeys.
Brooke Action for Working Horses and Donkeys aims to raise £100,000 to support communities and working horses, donkeys and mules impacted by Covid-19.
Some states have imposed lockdown restrictions, but as the pandemic rages on, loyal working animals are carrying essential supplies of food and water to keep their communities going. It is vital these animals are kept healthy if their owners are to recover from the economic and health impacts of this crisis.
India’s government has classified veterinary care as essential and Brooke staff have been given special passes allowing them to reach animals and communities that are isolated and in desperate need.
As with the first wave in 2020, staff are prioritising the use of telemedicine and, where possible, providing guidance to local health practitioners on the phone and via WhatsApp. If in-person assistance is needed, staff are takingprecautions to keep themselves and communities safe, including social distancing, double masking, and sanitising.
Funds from the appeal will ensure that Brooke can continue to help animals in need for several months. Even when the surge in infections subsides, these remote communities will need their animals to be healthy in order to rebuild life after Covid-19.
Since it was established in 1992, Brooke India has transformed the lives of millions of working horses, donkeys and mules and is trusted by thousands of vulnerable, remote communities who depend on their animals for survival.
The appeal has the support of British dressage riders Charlotte Dujardin and Alice Oppenheimer, who visited India with Brooke in 2015.
“Like others, I have found it deeply upsetting watching the current crisis unfold in India and my heart goes out to all who are affected,” Dujardin said.
“When I visited with Brooke in 2015 I was struck by the warm welcome and kindness I received from communities and I’m especially thinking of those people and their animals at this devastating time. Now more than ever, it’s important we keep animals healthy so that they can continue to support their communities.”
Oppenheimer said while in India she saw first-hand the vital contribution that working animals make to livelihoods, and was pleased to help ensure they continued to receive support.
“If we’ve learnt one thing during this pandemic it’s that we’re all in this together and it’s important we remember this as we think of those in India.”