1 April 2020

Welfare of working horses, donkeys and mules highlighted to policy makers

Brooke’s mission to improve the worldwide welfare of working horses, donkeys and mules was featured within the latest edition of the prestigious Parliamentary Review, which is distributed to over 500,000 key business executives and policy makers in the UK.

© Atul Loke / Panos Pictures

There are currently around 100 million equines working around the world to support the lives of approximately 600 million people. They carry coal, bricks, people and water every day, giving communities the opportunity to thrive. Unfortunately, the welfare and contribution of these animals is often overlooked.

Brooke has been working to reach millions of working horses, donkeys and mules since 1934. Within The Parliamentary Review, the charity’s CEO, Petra Ingram describes the vital role of a working animal: “A farmer in Afghanistan explained the role of his equid: his chicken, sheep, goat and cow are like the fingers of his hand, and the donkey his thumb. Without his thumb, his hand couldn’t function.”

This vital role was solidified in 2017 when the UN Committee on Food Security acknowledged working equines as livestock, thanks to lobbying from Brooke. Since then, Brooke has worked to highlight the economic contribution of these animals and their importance to the Sustainable Development Goals. Historically, working equines have been excluded from local policies but Brooke is ushering in change.

We are catalysing change by evidencing the relevance of these animals to the One Health concept and strengthening local infrastructures to ensure providers of key services have the skills they need.

Petra Ingram, Brooke CEO

The Review also highlights the impact of the donkey skin trade on animals and communities around the world. Currently, hundreds of thousands of donkeys are killed every day, to meet ever-growing demand from China for ejiao, a Traditional Chinese Medicine containing gelatin from donkey skin. Whilst Brooke recently celebrated the Kenyan government’s decision to ban commercial slaughter of donkeys, there are still concerns for many other countries across Africa and South America where the trade is still legal. Looking ahead, Brooke will take the learnings from Kenya and call for a global ban on the trade.

Brooke’s placement within the Review caps off another successful year of making a tangible difference to working horses, donkeys and mules and the people who depend on them. The co-chairman of The Parliamentary Review, Lord Pickles, has praised the Review as one of the most comprehensive yet. He commented that as Britain undergoes changes, it is “essential that politicians have a firm understanding of the challenges with which British organisations must contend” and that The Review once again provides a perfect platform for this.

To can find out more about The Parliamentary Review and read the full article here