Our Global External Affairs Work

We advocate and campaign to improve the lives of working livestock where we see the gravest issues, always using evidence to make our case.  We raise their visibility at every level, from national government to UN agencies.  We work in partnership, we mobilise, we lobby and we learn from others to bring about long term change.

Millions of families in low and middle-income countries all over the world rely on working livestock (donkeys, horses and mules) for transport, access to water, markets, health and veterinary services, agricultural production and other income generating activities. These animals support food security and help keep children in education. They offer women financial independence and help with daily chores. They work alongside their owners in some of the most challenging environments such as brick kilns, construction sites and mines.

Brooke meeting with the former Ambassador from Pakistan to the UN to discuss brick kilns

Donkey Skin Crisis

Demands from China for eijao, a gelatin made from donkey skins, is a global issue which has reached crisis levels in Africa where thousands of donkeys are being stolen, smuggled and slaughtered to meet the demand for their skins. We are working with national governments and donkey owning communities to protect these animals through policy and grassroots level protection initiatives, expanding our advocacy across Africa and at all levels, local and national.

Local protest against the donkey skin trade in Kenya

Working Together on Solutions in Brick Kilns

Brooke recognises the critical links between human, animal and environmental health and contributes to the One Health and One Welfare agendas to improve health and welfare across these three sectors.

One example of this is our work in brick kilns. The traditional brick making industry in South Asia employs over 16 million people and 500,000 animals - mainly horses, donkeys and mules - all working in hazardous conditions. The industry receives little political attention and is not held to account for its use and treatment of workers and animals, nor for its environmental impact.

Brooke works through a brick kiln consortium with key stakeholders such as the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the South Asia Initiative to End Violence Against Children (SAIEVAC) and The Donkey Sanctuary. This allows us to highlight the linkages between the human, animal and environmental sectors and collectively tackle the various challenges in these kilns including bonded and child labour, climate change, animal welfare, health and inequality. 

Action for Animal Health

Global animal health systems are vital to keeping animals healthy and in positive welfare states, as well as preventing disease outbreaks, some of which have the potential to spill over and infect humans. However, animal health systems have significant weaknesses, such as gaps in the veterinary workforce; inadequate access to essential medicines; weaknesses in diagnostics and early warning systems; and owners who lack sufficient information to properly care for their animals.

In order to tackle weaknesses in global animal health systems, Brooke has convened the coalition Action for Animal Health. The coalition brings together various stakeholders to work together to call for strengthening animal health systems and emphasize the importance of One Health.

Brooke addressing the UN High Level Political Forum Plenary on the importance of working equids

The Contribution of Working Livestock to Sustainable Development

Working livestock are essential to the livelihoods of millions of families across low and middle income countries around the world. They contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals by reducing poverty, supporting food security, supporting access to water, lessening the burden of household work on women and building resilience.

Brooke has been awarded specialised Consultative Status by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the UN Environment Program (UNEP) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), which we are using to raise awareness of the contributions of working equids to the SDGs.

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Brooke’s engagement with United Nations


There are an estimated 116 million equines (donkeys, horses and mules) globally, with 36 million in the 38 lowest-income countries. But accurate population data is lacking for many countries. This gap means that governments and organisations can’t spot worrying trends and threats to equine populations, such as illegal trades and diseases.

Read our latest report on the reliability of data on equine populations.


Brooke’s Global External Affairs team is compiled of advocacy, policy and campaign experts from across our areas of operation.

Brooke Global External Affairs Team meeting in 2019