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Innovating for animals to improve their welfare

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It's always great to hear about innovative ways to help animals, be they wildlife, marine life, feathered animals, pets, reptiles, working animals or livestock. 

So I wanted to tell you about The Brooke, an international animal welfare charity which works to improve the lives of working horses, donkeys, mules and the people who depend on them.

The Brooke has an Innovation Fund.  It invests in innovations that aim "to improve the welfare of working equines and the lives of those communities that depend on them".  It enables Brooke and its partners "to trial new ideas and develop new work that extends our reach and impact for the welfare of working equine animals globally".

Projects funded so far have:

  • Involved a hydroponics pilot project to help provide good quality green fodder to donkeys sustainably throughout the year in drought-prone areas in India.
  • Trained South Sudanese livestock officers in handling and basic donkey husbandry.
  • Developed a new harnessing and traction system for working donkeys in South Africa.  A major problem for many working animals are the sores they develop from badly fitted tack.
  • Worked with communities to write a manual in Arabic for equine owners in Palestine and across the Arab-speaking world which will help animals take better care of them.
  • In Lesotho, collaborated with Send a Cow to integrate equine welfare messages and education into a pilot project
  • Piloted a new eLearning system allowing remote communities without electricity or internet access to access bespoke educational tool - a big problem is that owners just don't know how to care for their animals, so this should help them take better care of them

This year, Brooke’s areas of special interest are:

  • Livelihoods: strengthening livelihoods that benefit working equines 
  • Food security: building resilience in equine owning communities to protect their working equines and households
  • Reach: Reaching working equines in remote/conflict affected/insecure locations where Brooke has no presence
  • Disaster responsiveness: where working equines are integrated into responses to natural and socio-political disasters

The criteria and guidelines can be found here.  

This is a fantastic idea that hopefully will see hard-working animals benefit - horses, camels, donkeys and mules - in many countries where The Brooke work.  Good luck to them!


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