Construction plays a vital role in social and economic development. Without buildings and infrastructure, communities and economies cannot flourish. Just think, where would we be without homes, schools and roads?
In many developing countries, the construction industry relies on the daily labour of horses, mules and donkeys that can suffer from overloading, injury, illness and overwork. The Brooke works with the animals and their owners to redress these problems and strives to protect them from the worst excesses of overwork.
In Hosanna in Ethiopia stone is a crucial part of a fast-growing construction boom with apartments, government buildings and shops springing up all over town. Most building material comes from a stone reservoir in Ajjo village around five kilometres away. Up to 40 donkeys are involved in the fetching and carrying, each helping their owner to earn 20-60 Birr a day (75p to £2.25). Between them, these donkeys support around 160 people. Carrying sharp and heavy loads can cause a number of injuries, which would traditionally be left to heal by themselves – and could easily prove fatal. However, since the Brooke has been working in Ethiopia, we have seen a dramatic improvement in the welfare of stone-carrying donkeys.
Aklilu Menberu’s story
For the past eight years, Aklilu has made his living by collecting, shaping and selling stones.
‘We used to load 6 to 7 times a day, with donkeys travelling 3 to 5 kilometres for each round carrying 50 to 60 kilos… There was no tradition of feeding them in-between – and nobody cared for their watering. Wounded donkeys were all around… their work lifespan was not more than one to two years.’
All this has changed now – thanks to the Brooke: ‘We have learned to treat wounds through water, salt and Vaseline available locally. We also use a saddler to prevent wounds and as a result you rarely see wounded donkeys. Now, we even know the symptoms before they get sick, and we treat them well and give them the rest they need.’
How your support is making a difference The Brooke is making a difference, by giving life-saving care and treatment to stone carrying donkeys and by enabling communities to develop the understanding and skills to provide it themselves.
For example, in Ethiopia, we have trained communities in wound management and stressed the benefits of low-cost animal welfare principles. And in the Haldwani region of India (another area dependent on stone), we have held educational sessions on the risks of overloading.
Thanks to everyone who ensure that horses have a life they deserve.