Every day in Ethiopia, 9 million working horses, donkeys, and mules support 54 million people who depend on them. But now, as Ethiopia is facing its worst drought in 50 years, these animals are not only fighting for their own survival, but doing so while helping people access emergency supplies. As such, the Brooke has launched an emergency response to help those animals.

The Brooke is dedicated to alleviating the suffering of working equines in the developing world. The Brooke USA, the American fundraising arm of the Brooke, exists to support programs like this one, which will supply emergency feed for 600 working equids each day for a month, and will deliver water for up to 1,800 equids each day.

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“Ethiopia has the second largest population of working equines in the world,” said Dil Peeling, director of animal welfare and sustainability at the Brooke. “The work and income from one of these animals can support a family of six, contributing to food security, and providing a lifeline for 85% of Ethiopians living in rural areas. These animals play a critical role now, in transporting emergency supplies to people and other livestock, and will be needed afterwards as people rebuild their lives.”

The Brooke teams in Ethiopia are currently working in Halaba and Sankura to provide food and water for the animals, give treatments to tackle disease, and offering advice to animal owners. They are also helping to repair much-needed water reserve ponds that had been damaged by a silt build-up.