1. Animal Husbandry

Care and Compassion for Working Equines Rules Supreme for Brooke India During the 21-Day Lockdown

Chander Mohan
Chander Mohan

The sudden lockdown order came as shock for the Indian Brick Kiln (BK) industry, one of the largest employers of unorganised labour force and working equines. The migrant workers at the BKs were left stranded at kilns without work, food ration, and animal fodder. 

The three-week countrywide lockdown announced by the Government on March 24, 2020, has immensely affected lakhs of migrant workers in the country, including the equine owning communities. Yet, the clock has not stopped for Brooke India, a leading international equine welfare organisation that has in past played a stellar role during natural calamities helping equine and their owners in distress. Be it the 2001 Bhuj earthquake, 2013 Uttarakhand flash floods, and 2019 flash floods, BI has worked tirelessly for equines. 

BI, due to its widespread presence in 10 states and intervention with local NGO partners, was quick to assess the situation and quickly joined hands with BK owners & the State Animal Husbandry Departments to provide adequate support to the equine owning communities and other relevant stakeholders.  Due to prior networking, our specialised field team comprising of veterinary and community engagement experts convinced BK owners to provide food rations to migrant equine owners, fodder for the animals. BI staff is in regular touch with equine owners, Animal Health Practitioners, Local Service Providers such as Farriers to check the real time situation on the ground. 

Apart from the BKs intervention, the BI team is trying to leverage mobile technology. Hindi language SMSs on the importance of equine welfare and COVID19 awareness on social distancing, regular hand washing, and personal hygiene are being circulated to over 2000 equine owners. Besides, we are also reaching out to a large number of BI trained Ashwamitras, Community Resource Persons and BI facilitated equine welfare groups to dispel myths and rumours around COVID-19 in their localities.

As Veterinary services are essential services, BI’s Vets and Field Assistants Animal Heath (FAs AH) have been issued special passes to operate during the lockdown. Furthermore, our trained cadre of Veterinary Doctors, Community Development experts, and FAsAH operating through 32 Partner Equine Welfare Units are offering telephonic consultation and prescriptions to equine owners in villages and BKs.

At the national level, BI has attended several emergency meetings convened by National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) on COVID19 preparedness and written letters to State Disaster Management Authority for joint efforts to deal with COVID19 crisis. 

To maximise our fight against COVID19, we are also utilising our social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) to create awareness about COVID 19’s prevention through the re-circulation of bilingual IEC material developed by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India. 

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