Pakistan

Pakistan has an estimated 5.9 million equines. Starting from a single mobile clinic in Peshawar, we have been working in country since 1991.

Pakistan at a glance

Population: 212 million
Percentage of people living below the international poverty line: 24%
Number of working horses, donkeys and mules: 5.9 million

Sources: World Bank 2015/18, and FAO 2018

Background

While poverty in Pakistan has declined dramatically in recent years, nearly a quarter of the population still live on less than a dollar a day.

There are 5.9 million horses, donkeys and mules in country and these animals are involved in a variety of work from transporting people and goods, to working in agriculture, brick kilns and coal mines.

Some of the main welfare issues they face include lameness, poor body condition, wounds, eye diseases and abnormal hoof shapes.

The country’s brick kilns and coal mines are particularly extreme working environments and home to some of the country’s most vulnerable working animals and people.

Four donkeys during a break at a brick kiln in Gujarnwala, Pakistan. Credit/Copyright - Richard Dunwoody MBE

What are we doing?

Our goal is to improve the welfare of working equines in Pakistan through:

  • working with brick kiln owners, equine owners and users and local animal health practitioners to improve the welfare of equines in brick kilns
  • working with coal mine owners, equine owners and users, and local animal health practitioners to improve the welfare of equines in coal mines
  • working with equine-using communities so they adopt welfare friendly practices
  • influencing national and provincial governments and other institutes to incorporate equine welfare into their policies.

Snapshot of our work

Donkeys entering a coal mine in Pakistan.

Brick Kilns

Conditions for people and animals are exceptionally harsh in Pakistan’s brick kilns.  Indeed working horses, donkeys and mules play a key role in the brick production value chain but are amongst the most vulnerable and mistreated animals in the world. They work long hours every day with inadequate water, food and rest to sustain them. When they can work no more because of exhaustion, injury or illness, they are often abandoned to die, as their owners are unable to access or pay for their care. The extreme vulnerability and suffering of animals in brick kilns is linked to the environment they operate in, and the vulnerability of their owners, many of whom are profoundly poor migrant, bonded labourers working within a highly profitable and unregulated industry.  

Thanks to an invaluable partnership with The Alborada Trust, Brooke is undertaking an extensive programme of work to address the welfare needs of brick kiln equids, and transform their quality of life and their working conditions.  Between 2017 and 2021 Brooke created sustainable welfare improvements for over 12,000 horses, donkeys and mules operating in 515 brick kilns.  Between 2021 and 2024 Brooke will scale-up this work to:

1.      Sustainably improve the quality of life of 50,000 equids working in 2,000 brick kilns through a direct, field based approach.

2.      Sustainably improve working conditions for 25,000 equids in 1,000 brick kilns.  Capitalising on previous policy achievements, we will push forward the brick kiln agenda in provincial policy and legislative frameworks.*

*Whilst we have the resources to effectively monitor change in 1,000 kilns, the policy footprint (or “ripple effect”), of our advocacy work is likely to positively impact many more animals, potentially reaching all 20,000 kilns in Pakistan.

read our success stories

Brick kiln owner Rana Rashide became an advocate for animal welfare.

Using colour and animation to deliver a serious message was a winning combination at the Ilyas Brick Kiln, Mor Khunda in Pakistan.

Coal mines

Coal mines are extremely tough environments for both donkeys and their owners. Our work in the mines is especially difficult because conditions for the miners themselves are very poor. Some of our work in this area includes building trust within the mining communities through the provision of basic infrastructure, such as shelters and water troughs, as well as providing first aid.

Once this trust has been built, we organise community meetings to teach basic management practices (such as grooming and hoof cleaning, wound management, feeding and water awareness) and recruit welfare champions who promote good practice more widely.

We also identify, train veterinary and other local service providers (farriers, saddlers and feed sellers), and ensure the miners have access to affordable and good quality services.​

Young woman working at a Pakistan brick kiln

Advocacy work

Brooke Pakistan aims to influence civil society, government and non-government organisations, raising a voice for equine welfare and lobbying for their inclusion in policy. Examples include:

  • disseminating evidence, such as the Voices from Women report on the links between working equines and human development
  • working directly with government livestock departments to ensure the inclusion of equines in their livestock welfare programmes and initiatives
  • adding topics on equine diseases and management to veterinary training curriculums. 

Working with communities

Brooke runs interactive sessions with equine owners and users to address issues affecting their animals’ welfare. 

Educating groups of owners ensures our messages reach bigger audiences though 'cascading' - passing the information on to others. Innovative methods include working with women’s groups to empower them to take the lead role in caring for their animals, and using competitions and peer pressure to make communities aware of good animal welfare practice, not only for their own equines, but also for those in neighbouring villages. 

With your help we can reach even more working horses, donkeys & mules.