Brooke, an international charity that protects and improves the lives of horses, donkeys and mules which give people in the developing world the opportunity to work their way out of poverty, has launched an emergency appeal to raise £100,000 to support communities and working horses, donkeys and mules impacted by India’s devastating COVID-19 crisis.
The country hit a record 414,188 new infections on 7 May and some states have imposed lockdown restrictions. As the pandemic rages on, loyal working animals are carrying essential supplies of food and water to keep their communities going and it’s vital they are kept healthy if their owners are to recover from the economic and health impacts of this crisis. India’s government has classified veterinary care as essential and Brooke staff have been given special passes allowing them to reach animals and communities that are isolated and in desperate need.
As with the first wave in 2020, staff are prioritizing the use of telemedicine and, where possible, providing guidance to local health practitioners on the phone and via Whatsapp. If in-person assistance is needed, staff are taking all necessary precautions to keep themselves and communities safe, including social distancing, double masking, and sanitizing.
Brooke Global Ambassador and Olympian Charlotte Dujardin CBE is supporting the campaign. She said: "Like others, I have found it deeply upsetting watching the current crisis unfold in India and my heart goes out to all who are affected. When I visited with Brooke in 2015 I was struck by the warm welcome and kindness I received from communities and I’m especially thinking of those people and their animals at this devastating time. Now more than ever, it’s important we keep animals healthy so that they can continue to support their communities."
Dragons Den star Deborah Meaden is also supporting the campaign. She said: "My thoughts are with all in India at this very frightening time. When visiting the country with Brooke many years ago, I was struck by the conditions faced by the people and animals working together in brick kilns – to add a pandemic to this is unthinkable. I’ve long been proud of the great difference Brooke makes to communities and its needed now more than ever."
Funds from the appeal will ensure that Brooke can continue to help animals in need for several months. Even when the surge in infections subsides, these remote communities will need their animals to be healthy in order to rebuild life after COVID-19.