“Free the Donkeys!” Campaign will Ease the Suffering of Working Equines this Summer

Lexington, Ky. – June 5, 2017 ­­– Each day, millions of working horses, donkeys, and mules suffer in the blistering heat of Ethiopia while carrying heavy loads over many miles to market. Bearing not only the extreme heat but also large loads, they often do not have access to water or shade once they reach their destinations. With cargo still on their backs, they are usually tied in the sun where they will stand all day until they make the return trip home again.

Working equines in poverty-stricken areas often do not have access to water or shelters that provide protection from the blazing sun. As a result, the animals suffer and mortality is very high.

This summer, Brooke USA is launching a campaign called “Free the Donkeys!”.  With the goal of raising $98,000, the campaign will provide much-needed relief to the animals who are a lifeline to their owners in the major market areas of Bulle and Gedeb in Ethiopia.

One of the primary causes of mortality among working animals is colic due to dehydration, and Brooke USA knows that their fundraising appeal will help alleviate much of the suffering and death. With the funds raised from this campaign, Brooke will build shade shelters with individual stalls that can house up to 300 equines at one time. Shade shelters will provide working equines a break from the heat, flies and heavy packs. Each equine in the shade shelter will also be provided with food and water to re-fuel from a hard day’s labor before their long journeys home at the end of the market day.

USA’s campaign will result in relief for working equines while educating their owners on sustainable care, equine health and welfare improvements. Because the people of Ethiopia deeply depend on their equine partners, the maintenance of the shade shelters is crucial to the well-being of the community and equines.

“Not only will the animals benefit from regular access to water and shelter, but their owners will be the ultimate beneficiaries because their working partners will be healthier,” Executive Director of Brooke USA, Emily Dulin said. “Brooke USA is proud to fund Brooke’s work with communities to train them in best practices to safeguard the livelihoods of their families.”

The success of shade shelters has already been seen with the construction of two Brooke shelters in Halaba, Ethiopia. With those shelters, the mortality rate improved drastically, going down from 87 deaths to zero. The sustainable project not only soothes the donkeys, it involves the entire community. Local farmers will gain more business producing hay to feed the donkeys and hundreds of local jobs will be created for building and maintaining the shelters.

“Free the Donkeys!” t-shirts are also available to show support and raise awareness. The funds raised will go directly to Brooke for building shade shelters for the working equines of Ethiopia.

For more information on Free The Donkeys!, contact Cindy Rullman, Brooke USA, 859-296-0037, Cindy.Rullman@BrookeUSA.org, or www.FreeTheDonkeys.org. For more information on Brooke USA, please go to www.BrookeUSA.org.


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