Emergency appeal raises £100K for India’s Covid-stricken horse owners

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Suresh, pictured with his horse, is one of the owners whom Brooke has helped. He has been able to build an Azolla pit to cultivate animal feed.
Suresh, pictured with his horse, is one of the owners whom Brooke has helped. He has been able to build an Azolla pit to cultivate animal feed. © Brooke

Supporters of global working animal charity Brooke have raised more than £100,000 ($NZ197,000; $US137,000) in an emergency appeal to help India’s working equines amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

More than 60,000 working horses, donkeys and mules and 40,000 owners in India are expected to benefit after thousands of Brooke supporters dug deep for the appeal in May.

It has allowed the Brooke team to help communities impacted by Covid-19, providing fodder, first aid kits and medicines.

Cases of Covid-19 in India have dropped significantly since the early May peak, although many communities are still feeling the impact on their livelihoods. To help combat this, Brooke has been working to build resilience in communities, ensuring this emergency response provides long-term support as well as short.

For example, Brooke has helped owners procure subsidised Napier grass to build permanent Azolla pits for their equines and other members of the community. Azolla, an aquatic floating fern, can be cultivated as an animal feed, as well as a medicine and water purifier.

Suresh at the new Azolla pit. Azolla is a free floating fern and can be grown in ponds, pits, and tanks with a depth of 20 centimetres.
Suresh at the new Azolla pit. Azolla is a free-floating fern and can be grown in ponds, pits, and tanks with a depth of 20 centimetres. © Brooke

Currently, Brooke is working across all its states of intervention; Punjab, Haryana, Jammu, Rajasthan, Bihar, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Madhya Pradesh.

Since it was established in 1992, Brooke India has helped save millions of working horses, donkeys and mules.

Brooke has been distributing balanced feeds to horses and donkeys in need.
Brooke has been distributing balanced feeds to horses and donkeys in need. Here, staff at Sangli Unit 5 prepare to send out supplies.© Brooke

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