Nepal at a glance
Population: 29.3 million
Percentage of population living below the international poverty line: 15%
Number of working equines: 100,000
Sources: World Bank 2017, World Bank 2010
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Nepal is one of the world's poorest countries, where working horses and donkeys play an important role in supporting the livelihoods of many of its communities.
In the hilly districts of Nepal equines are used for riding and for transporting goods by pack, while in the plain districts they transport people by cart. Equines are also used in brick kilns to carry heavy loads of bricks over long distances.
The main issues faced by equines in Nepal are wounds, lameness, colic, injuries, diseases and a lack of access to appropriate feed, water, shelter and vaccinations. The welfare status of the animals is poor in all areas, but is worst in the brick kilns of Kathmandu Valley.
How Brooke is working in Nepal
In 2007, we started working in Nepal in partnership with the organisation Animal Health Training and Consultancy Service (AHTCS).
AHTCS is currently:
- Working with local animal health practitioners such as vets, farriers and saddle-makers to improve the availability and quality of their services
- Working with equine owners and users to improve their equine husbandry, disease prevention and handling practices
- Helping to improve working conditions and animal welfare facilities in brick kilns
- Raising the profile of equine welfare in government policy and legal frameworks.
Working in brick kilns
Since 2012 AHTCS has worked in the brick kilns of Kathmandu, focusing on the horses, donkeys and mules who carry heavy loads of bricks over long distances. AHTCS aims to improve the working conditions and animal welfare facilities in the kilns through working with brick kiln associations, brick kiln owners and with equine owners and handlers, as well as stakeholders such as Brick Clean Network and Animal Welfare Network Nepal.
Working with owner groups
Currently AHTCS is working in 17 districts across Nepal, supporting the formation of equine owner groups and teaching more members skills such as basic first aid, equine handling and equine care. They work with these owner groups to support them in developing savings and credit funds which provide loans for members to pay for equine related expenses.
AHTCS has celebrated a number of successes as a result of their advocacy work over the past year.
In August 2018, the Supreme Court of Nepal issued an interim order to adopt safe and humane transportation of farm animals for commercial purpose as provisioned in the Animal Transportation Standard. They also issued a revision to the Nation General Code (Munuki Ain) that aims to prevent inhumane behaviour and punish captivity and cruelty towards animals.
The 10th General Assembly of the Federation of Nepal Brick Industries made the decision to adopt Animal Welfare Directives in the brick kilns of Nepal. This is a major new milestone for AHTCS who have been advocating for these standards for a long time. This step symbolises a great opportunity to establish good working environments for equines and advocate for their welfare in the brick kilns of Nepal.
Brooke's partner in Nepal, AHTCS, has been given a Special Recognition Award for their work during the aftermath of the Nepal earthquake, almost exactly a year ago
In 2008, Brooke forged a partnership with the DCA Livestock Programs (DCA) to create lasting equine welfare improvements in equine owning communities of Afghanistan by strengthening the understanding of owners.
At 228,000, Guatemala has the highest number of equines in Central America. We have worked in country since 2006, through a partnership with Equinos Sanos para el Pueblo (ESAP)
We also work through a variety of smaller projects carried out in partnership through our Innovation Fund, a fund which exists to address persistent problems affecting working equids around the world in new and effective ways.