We work with owners

Improving the welfare of working animals means working closely with owners, their families and the wider community. This ensures improvements made to welfare are owned locally with guidance provided by Brooke and our partners.

A horse and its owner transporting wood from a nearby forest. Credit/Copyright - Richard Dunwoody MBE

A horse and its owner transporting wood from a nearby forest. Credit/Copyright - Richard Dunwoody MBE

What are we trying to achieve?

We aim to improve the lives of working horses, donkeys and mules - both now and in the future. Most of the welfare problems we encounter are preventable so we work with equine owners, users and caregivers to make changes that will directly improve animal welfare.

We also work with the wider community to ensure that working equids are regarded as an essential part of the community for the long-term. We aim to see both owners and communities:

  • performing basic husbandry and first aid practices to prevent and manage welfare problems
  • appraising animal welfare and adjusting their behaviour to make improvements
  • recognising when animals require professional help, and obtaining this without delay
  • having positive interactions with their animals
  • showing positive attitudes toward working equine animals
A Brooke vet talking with an owner at a coal mine in Pakistan

A Brooke Pakistan vet talks with an owner at a coal mine in rural Pakistan.

How do we work with owners and communities?

Our work with owners and communities varies depending on the local environment and welfare issues. We encourage and support equine owning communities to make their own appraisal, analysis and plans. Our work commonly includes:

  • forming equine welfare groups and associations
  • training and equipping individuals to pass on welfare messages to others in their community
  • holding meetings to connect equine owners with local animal service providers
  • using Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) tools and methods, such as those found in our Sharing the Load manual, to use local knowledge and opinions
  • distributing education and communication materials
  • initiating children's animal welfare clubs and activities
  • supporting influential people in the community to advocate for animal welfare
  • integrating equine welfare into existing community systems and structures

With your help we can reach even more equine owners and communities in some of the poorest countries.

Find out more about our approach to animal handling, what we mean by animal welfare and download our Sharing the Load manual.