Afghanistan has the twelfth highest density of working horses, donkeys and mules in the world with over 1.7 million animals. Many of these are vulnerable because they work in difficult conditions – pulling and carrying heavy loads in brick kilns and carrying loads in urban areas.
Making a difference
The Brooke has worked in partnership with the Dutch Committee for Afghanistan (DCA) since 2007, training paravets to improve veterinary services for working horses and donkeys, and working with users to improve animal welfare. The DCA trains a considerable number of animal health workers every year, with six months’ training for each person providing key services.
- We are helping to train community animal health workers from the remote Balkh and Herat provinces and developing knowledge about animal welfare and practice among some 700 owners in the region.
- We are improving the working and living conditions of nearly 600 working animals in the capital, Kabul, by working with local communities and existing service providers.
- We are improving the animal welfare understanding, attitudes and practice of 1500 animal owners, 600 women and 300 children. Our partnership with the DCA aims to improve equine handling, animal welfare understanding and veterinary skills of 16 new paravets. We have also trained 15 farriers, significantly reducing the number of working equines being treated for lameness. These changes will result in improving the welfare of at least 5,000 horses, donkeys and mules in Afghanistan.
- The primary focus of the Brooke’s work in Afghanistan is to improve animal welfare through changes in human behaviour. It’s important that animal owners and users are able to identify and prevent problems before they happen. We are supporting animal owners to use cart poles, cart lubrication, water troughs (at fifty per cent local contribution) and adequate stable ventilation to improve the welfare of horses, donkeys and mules.