Free The Donkeys

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This campaign is now closed, thanks to our donors, who helped us reach our goal. Please consider a donation to our other important programs by clicking the button


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The Problem

When working horses and donkeys carry heavy loads to market for several hours over many miles in Ethiopia, they are often tethered in the hot African sun all day, with their tongues/jaws tied down. their packs still loaded on their weary backs, with no shade or shelter, while their owners sell their goods.  Then the hot, tired, dehydrated animals carry the unsold goods many miles home again for the night.  Even once they arrive at home, many animals will still not receive water.

Brooke veterinarians have identified that the major cause of mortality among these animals is colic due to dehydration. They desperately need shade shelters with water and feed in the market areas - not just to make their lives easier, but to actually save their lives.



The Urgency

There is currently an urgent need for intervention in the markets of Bulle and Gedeb.

Thousands of equines are at risk from dehydration, heat stress, and exhaustion because of inadequate water and shelter, following long journeys in extreme temperatures while carrying impossible loads.

With your help, Brooke will construct massive shade shelters to free many of these animals from much of their suffering!
 


The Solution

Brooke's shade shelters will allow these tired little animals to have respite and some freedom from the sun, heat, and flies, then have a drink, a meal, and a rest before they resume their long journeys home.

The new shade shelters will be modeled after shelters that Brooke has constructed in other market areas which have proven to be of great benefit in relieving the suffering of the animals and also benefitting their poor owners.

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Donkeys often carry or pull huge loads for many miles to reach market areas and have no relief from the sun or their hunger and thirst once they arrive. With your help, Brooke will construct massive shade shelters for animals like these.


The shade Shelters

The construction will take three months to complete, using tin for the roof and a mixture of concrete and wood for the walls; this will allow for cooler air to move inside the shelter between the wood partitions. These partitions will enable the community to house an average of 300 equines in each shelter at a time, housing an average of 500 equines per market day, per shelter! Water points will be included in the construction, allowing access to a continuous water source for equines.

This is an architectural rendering of the types of shade shelters that Brooke will construct in two additional market areas.  They may not be beautiful, but they’re very practical, economical to build, and easy to maintain. They will be constructed of concrete block and timber, with tin roofs, which help to keep the animals cool inside during the day. They also have large vents along the roof line to promote ventilation, and they can serve several hundred animals each day. Similar previously constructed shade shelters in other market areas have been very effective in lowering the mortality rates of the animals who have access to them.  

This is an architectural rendering of the types of shade shelters that Brooke will construct in two additional market areas.  They may not be beautiful, but they’re very practical, economical to build, and easy to maintain. They will be constructed of concrete block and timber, with tin roofs, which help to keep the animals cool inside during the day. They also have large vents along the roof line to promote ventilation, and they can serve several hundred animals each day. Similar previously constructed shade shelters in other market areas have been very effective in lowering the mortality rates of the animals who have access to them.

 

Brooke shade shelters are constructed differently, depending on the location. But all are highly functional, providing plenty of air circulation, and can comfortably and safely hold many animals at a time.

Brooke shade shelters are constructed differently, depending on the location. But all are highly functional, providing plenty of air circulation, and can comfortably and safely hold many animals at a time.

This is a previously constructed and very successful Brooke shade shelter in a busy market in Ethiopia.

This is a previously constructed and very successful Brooke shade shelter in a busy market in Ethiopia.

This is the type of interior that will be constructed through our Free The Donkeys campaign. The concrete walls and open wood doors help to keep the shelter cool.

This is the type of interior that will be constructed through our Free The Donkeys campaign. The concrete walls and open wood doors help to keep the shelter cool.

Horses are also victims of the heat, overloading, and dehydration, like these at the Hosanna Grain Market in Ethiopia.

Horses are also victims of the heat, overloading, and dehydration, like these at the Hosanna Grain Market in Ethiopia.

Animals are unloaded and brought inside for a meal and water while they rest and wait to be reloaded for the long walk home.

Animals are unloaded and brought inside for a meal and water while they rest and wait to be reloaded for the long walk home.


 
 

The Goal

A goal of all Brooke programs is sustainable welfare improvements.

To that end, this project will not only fund the construction of the shade shelters, but will also construct watering points, and training for community members in the proper way to manage and maintain the shelters and water points

It will also train community members in better animal welfare practices to share with other animal owners.

With this comprehensive program, the welfare of working equines in this area will be improved for generations to come 


The importance

With nine million horses, donkeys and mules, Ethiopia has one of the largest equine populations in the world.

Donkeys constitute the highest proportion of this population (73%), followed by horses (22%) and mules (5%). The majority of these animals (more than 80%), are found in rural areas.

These animals play a major role in the country’s economy and help to reduce poverty by contributing to household income, as well as providing broader support to peoples’ livelihoods. They play a particularly vital role in the transportation of water in rural areas.

Donkeys transport water from wells that are often many miles away from their homes.

Donkeys transport water from wells that are often many miles away from their homes.


The Details

Satisfied customers: This horse in enjoying a much-deserved rest in one of Brooke's existing shade shelters in the very busy Hosanna grain market in Ethiopia.

Satisfied customers: This horse in enjoying a much-deserved rest in one of Brooke's existing shade shelters in the very busy Hosanna grain market in Ethiopia.

Following the previous construction of two shelters in Halaba, Ethiopia, Brooke observed numerous improvements in equine health. The number of equine deaths due to dehydration and theft fell from 87 and 54 per year respectively, to almost zero in both cases. All in all, a significant reduction in the death and theft of equines during market days was achieved as a result of the shelters constructed by Brooke!

Now Brooke will construct two more shade shelters and watering points on land provided by the Ethiopian government, in the market places of Bulle and Gedeb, to provide shade, food, and water to hundreds of animals each day. Local companies in Ethiopia will construct them. Brooke also involves the local communities to construct fences around the sites.

Hay for the feed is sourced from local farmers encouraging growth within the local economy, and creation of a sustainable source of employment and income for the local Gharry (taxi) cart owners.

Additionally, Brooke will establish operational and management structures and systems that ensure the sustainability of the project.  This will include training local Gharry (horse drawn taxi) cart owners to run the shelters as part of a management committee and as operators - providing start-up materials, support, and seed money.  The operators will be trained in animal welfare, record keeping and basic business management.  They will then manage the upkeep of the shelters, charging equine owners and handlers a very small fee (the U.S. equivalent of 25 to 40 cents per animal for two to three hours in the shelter with food and water).  This fee will be used by the local committees to make repairs and maintain the shelters and watering points.


Last summer, our generous donors funded the construction of five very large, permanent water troughs in Ethiopia in a campaign called, "Buy a Donkey a Drink."  This summer, we're asking donors to extend that same generosity to this next lifesaving project!

Your donations will help to prevent common scenes like these in some of Ethiopia's market areas, by providing lifesaving shade shelters, water, and feed!

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Monty Roberts

Famed horseman Monty Roberts, "The Man Who Listens to Horses" and Brooke Ambassador, has a quick message for you:


After donating, please also consider purchasing a tee to support Free The Donkeys!
Available in a variety of colors and styles in a wide range of sizes.

The Selfie

Show your support for our Free The Donkeys! campaign and win a free tee shirt.  Just download our cute sign (below), take a selfie or have someone take it for you (or it can be the sign with your horse, dog, cat, hen, guinea pig or anyone else), and post it on social media.  Ask your friends to share it and donate.

Make sure you tag our Brooke USA Facebook page so we can see it, and include a link to our website: www.FreeTheDonkeys.org.

At least once a month we'll select a winner who has the cutest or most creative post to receive a Free The Donkeys! tee shirt. 

Brooke USA Advocates Sarah Schaff and Patrick The Miniature Horse show their support for FREE THE DONKEYS!

Brooke USA Advocates Sarah Schaff and Patrick The Miniature Horse show their support for FREE THE DONKEYS!


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Free The Donkeys! and Horse Heroes

All of the funds raised by Brooke USA this year in projects such as Free The Donkeys! will count toward our overall goal of raising $1 million in our year-long Horse Heroes campaign. 

Horse Heroes is our way of honoring the one million American horses and mules who served, suffered, and died in World War One as we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entering the war. 

We're raising one dollar in memory of each of those animals: One million horses, one million heroes, one million dollars - all to improve the welfare of working equines around the world!  Click here for more information on Horse Heroes.

Brooke USA's Horse Heroes is an official partner of the U.S. WWI Centennial Commission!