23 May 2023

Influencing for change: How does Brooke work with policy makers?

Working horses, donkeys and mules play a vital role in supporting communities and economies worldwide, yet their importance can often be overlooked by policy makers.

Children with equid in India. Photo credit: Freya Dowson. 

Brooke’s Global External Affairs team works to raise the visibility of working equids at every level, from grassroots to international, advocating to improve their lives and enact long term change. Collaborating with key stakeholders, Brooke identifies important issues and campaigns to improve conditions for working animals around the world.

The role of Brooke's External Affairs team

Made up of campaign, policy and advocacy experts from across Brooke’s countries of operation, the External Affairs team fights for a world in which working animals are safe, respected and cared for. From working with national governments and communities to ban the global donkey skin trade, to campaigning for governments to invest more money in animal health systems, they take meaningful action that will change the lives of working animals for the better.

Supporting working animals on the global stage

Brooke works tirelessly to highlight the contribution of working equines to sustainable development, particularly the United Nation (UN)’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which call for economic, social and environmental prosperity worldwide.

Regularly attending the UN’s High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development, Brooke has joined thousands of national delegations to raise awareness of how working equines support the achievement of the SDGs. From improving food (SDG2: Zero Hunger) and water security (SDG6: Clean Water and Sanitation), to supporting women with tasks and a stable income (SDG5: Gender Equality), working equines empower communities to make the best decisions for their families and their animals’ welfare. Using its UN-accredited Consultative Status, Brooke continues to drive awareness of how working equids contribute to the SDGs.

This March, Brooke and the International Coalition for Working Equids (ICWE), a coalition made up of Brooke, The Donkey Sanctuary, SPANA and World Horse Welfare, hosted a virtual side event for the UN 2023 Water Conference. Speakers from around the world discussed the crucial role of women and working equids in water projects globally, and how they should be included in more conversations tackling the water crisis. Brooke and ICWE are using these learnings to call for greater collaboration between development and animal welfare sectors in addressing water solutions, centred around women and working equids.

Change that promotes a life worth living

Eradicating the donkey skin trade

Calling for a global ban on the trade of donkey skins remains a significant priority. In January 2023, following lobbying from Brooke, government ministers from a number of African counties signed a resolution urging the African Union Commission to ban donkey slaughter across the continent for the next 15 years. Brooke hopes this will become a reality, significantly reducing regional donkey slaughter and cross-border smuggling.

Brooke continues to work with national governments and donkey owning communities to tackle the donkey skin trade globally, and protect these animals through policy and grassroots initiatives.   

Investing in animal health to protect us all

Brooke heads up Action for Animal Health, a coalition made up of NGOs and research institutes, including Compassion in World Farming and the World Veterinary Association, who advocate for stronger investment in animal health systems. An estimated 60% of known infectious diseases and up to 75% of new or emerging infectious diseases come from animals. We are all connected, so it’s vital that animal health receives adequate investment.

The coalition recently launched a report, The Case for Investing in Animal Health to Protect One Health. It recommends stronger investment in the animal health workforce, better surveillance, improved access to veterinary medicines and vaccines, and better communication across the One Health sectors.  

Read more about how Brooke works with policy makers here.