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The Donkey Sanctuary sets up global emergency fund for working equines

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Working donkey carrying water

Designed to support donkey owners all over the globe who are struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the emergency fund will make a big difference to equine welfare during these difficult times

The Donkey Sanctuary has set up an emergency fund for working donkeys and mules in need in Africa, Asia and the Americas whose welfare has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Emergency Response Fund aims to help vulnerable communities and promote the welfare of working equines.

Mike Baker, Chief Executive of The Donkey Sanctuary, said: “The global coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on the livelihoods of working donkey-owners, at a time when many are already being impacted by climate change, conflict and crop failure.

“Working equids and their owners are at the frontline of the COVID-19 impacts. The Donkey Sanctuary knows that by tackling the wellbeing of the working animals and the people who work with them, we can support both to be more resilient in an increasingly complex and difficult world. Globally, an estimated 112 million equids are essential to the livelihoods of some of the poorest and most vulnerable communities in Africa, Asia and the Americas.”

In Nepal, all non-essential services and industries were closed due to lockdown – including the brick kilns in Kathmandu valley and Dhading. The workers and equines within the kilns are some of the poorest, and lockdown left them stranded with few supplies, unable to travel home or care for their animals.

The Donkey Sanctuary worked with Animal Nepal to gain government permission to distribute supplies to the kilns, which contain 25 days’ worth of equine feed, rice, daal and sanitary items. These packages were distributed to 167 families and 901 donkeys.

Mike Baker concluded: “The Donkey Sanctuary’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund will enable us to work quickly and in collaboration with other partners to reach donkeys in urgent need, while also supporting the communities that rely on them. To improve the lives of people it’s essential to improve the lives of working equids, as they boost the income and resilience of communities.”

Other projects are able to apply for the fund, but they must demonstrate the positive impact their work would have on working donkeys. £15,000–£30,000 can be requested from the grant and is available for short-term, three to six-month projects.

For more information, visit thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk

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