17 September 2021

Equine owners in Nepal get support after deadly disease outbreak

The International Coalition of Working Equids (ICWE), made up of representatives from Brooke, The Donkey Sanctuary, SPANA and World Horse Welfare, is providing support and expertise to equine owners in Nepal, after the country’s government confirmed the presence of Glanders disease in May 2021.

Glanders primarily affects horses, donkeys and mules, and is a highly infectious and life-threatening disease, which can also be passed to humans.

Brooke and other ICWE members produced practical materials for equine owners, including instructional films which are easily accessible across the country. 

Recognising the need to get information and advice to owners quickly, especially in remote areas, ICWE produced a series of six short films. The videos were translated into local languages by Animal Nepal, a Nepalese NGO supported by the coalition.

The films focus on key biosecurity principles, such as practicing good hygiene and implementing quarantine when necessary. Helpful instructions in the films can easily be adapted for the treatment of other equine illnesses and for future disease outbreaks.

ICWE also organised a practical workshop for Animal Nepal, where experts shared practical advice for managing Glanders in the field. 

Brooke drew on its expertise and experience in animal health and Glanders. Brooke India conducted a study on the impact of the disease on equids and communities working in brick kilns in Uttar Pradesh, India. Families of five to six people were only able to earn an estimated 6% of their potential wages as a result of the outbreak.

Historically, Glanders was a major disease for equids worldwide. Largely eradicated from North America, Australia and Europe, there are still sporadic reports of the disease in a number of Asian, African, Middle Eastern, and South American countries. 

ICWE aims to help implement the OIE international Standard for the welfare of working equids, as well as encourage ongoing improvements to the welfare for working equids across the globe. It formed as a coalition to improve communications with the OIE and other international organisations. 

You can view the videos here