Animal welfare

The focus of the Brooke’s work is always to improve the welfare of working horses, donkeys and mules overseas and we work by leading by example.

Promoting animal welfare friendly practices

The Animal Welfare team ensures that our field teams are trained in using animal welfare friendly practices and all understand and put into practice our Minimum Standards of Animal Welfare and guidelines.

The Five Freedoms

Field teams work with communities to help them to identify animal welfare problems and how to improve them.  We are constantly looking at definitions of animal welfare to include new approaches in our work.  We currently use the ‘Five Freedoms’ as our basis to define what every animal should have:

  • Freedom from hunger and thirst – having access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour.
  • Freedom from discomfort (physical and thermal) – providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
  • Freedom from pain, injury and disease – prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
  • Freedom to express normal behaviour – providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind.
  • Freedom from fear and distress – ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.

Read the full text of the Five Freedoms Welfare Assessment Framework at the Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) website.

Since the Brooke focuses on animal welfare we also need to be able to measure it. The Brooke is at the forefront, finding innovative ways to assess the welfare of working animals and we always try to assess our performance by our outcomes.

We use a range of assessment methods and are always looking to improve and develop further.

We have developed a Welfare Assessment tool with Bristol University that we use regularly in the field to measure animal welfare.  Our field teams also continue to develop participatory tools for communities to assess the welfare of their animals and work to develop specific animal-based indicators of welfare to measure the impact of our work.

donkey rolling

Donkey rolling and enjoying sand at a brick kiln in Uttar Pradesh, India. The freedom to express normal behaviour. Photo by Dan Abraham

horse drinking

A Brooke water trough in Lahore, Pakistan, provides freedom from thirst

Brooke vet carries out a check on a donkey.

Brooke vet carries out a check on a donkey. © The Brooke

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