Thulai-Hathras equine fair

Horses, donkeys and mules are at risk of life-threatening illnesses and crippling injuries at equine fairs around the country. Travelling to the four-day Thulai-Hathras fair in north India is dangerous, with thousands of horses, donkeys and mules crammed into the truck or making the long journey on foot.

Animals grazing at an equine fair in India

Animals grazing at an equine fair in India

The journey

The fair is an important opportunity for poor animal owners and handlers to make money so they try to get the maximum number of animals into each truck. Getting onto the vehicle via a slippery, uneven ramp frightens the horses, donkeys and mules so they are forced on – causing injuries and distress.

Once aboard, the animals are crammed together. There is no straw to cushion blows as they are crushed against each other and the sides of the truck. The fearful animals suffer a range of injuries from fractures, wounds, dislocations to torn tendons and bite marks.

No respite

After travelling long miles on foot, or crushed into trucks, the weary horses, donkeys and mules arrive at the fair. It’s blisteringly hot and the land is dusty and barren. Exhausted from their journey, the animals find little shelter from the scorching sun, or clean water to relieve their thirst.

Over two sweltering weeks in August, almost 13,000 working animals are crowded together in this inhospitable place. Cramped conditions, inadequate food and shade and scarce - often contaminated - water mean the animals face a range of risks to their health and welfare. Unsurprisingly, many are also fearful and distressed. It's crucial that Brooke vets are on hand to treat everything from kick and bite marks to septic wounds, infectious diseases, dehydration and malnutrition.

With your help we can improve conditions for working animals at equine fairs and treat those in the most need.

Brooke is here to help poor equine owners and their animals.

Lifesaving treatment on site

When Om Prakash’s mare Basanti fell ill, he was very worried and took her to his local health provider but they couldn’t identify the problem. He was therefore very relieved to see vet Dr Sanjay who was with the Brooke team at the fair.

Dr Sanjay saw the mare was unable to move properly and that part of her eyelid was covering her eye. He diagnosed tetanus and treated her with antibiotics and tetanus vaccine, briefing a paravet to monitor Basanti until she was fully recovered. Thanks to the Brooke’s lifesaving treatment, Basanti is now in good health. Om was very grateful that our team was at the equine fair: "The Brooke is here to help poor equine owners and their animals," he said.

Our work in equine fairs is really making a difference.

Dr Mohite, the Brooke’s team leader at Thulai

Reaching out

Despite the harsh conditions, the fair is an ideal opportunity to reach as many owners, handlers and drivers as possible with vital messages about improving the welfare of their animals as they travel. From providing bedding and non-slip ramps, to avoiding force and over-crowding, we’re working to reduce the risks and injuries suffered at these events.