Working horses and donkeys are essential to the survival of communities in the developing world - Veterinary Practice
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Working horses and donkeys are essential to the survival of communities in the developing world

Working horses, donkeys and mules are providing an essential role in ensuring communities still have access to food, water and medical transport

As COVID-19 continues to spread around the world, working horses, donkeys and mules are still providing an essential role in ensuring communities in developing countries still have access to food, water and medical transport. International animal welfare charity Brooke has launched an emergency 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 and more governments are introducing tough restrictions on the movement of people to try and 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.

However, 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: “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.”

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 even using their sewing skills to make protective face masks.

As people around the world come to terms with ever changing restrictions to their daily lives, working horses, donkeys and mules are a constant and their role is more essential than ever. To help Brooke ensure their welfare at this difficult time, please visit Brooke’s website to donate, and for more information on how COVID-19 is affecting the communities Brooke works in.

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