Sidmouth donkey charity launches emergency fund for owners hit by Covid crisis

An emergency coronavirus fund has been set up by a Sidmouth charity to help struggling donkey and mule owners in Africa, Asia and the Americas.

The Donkey Sanctuary has launched its Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund to support the most vulnerable, and make sure their animals have what they need to stay happy and healthy.

The Sidmouth-based charity will work with partners and international development organisations to fund interventions that directly change the lives of working donkeys and their owners.

Mike Baker, The Donkey Sanctuary CEO, said: “The global coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on the livelihoods of working donkey owners, at a time when many are already being impacted by climate change, conflict and crop failure.”

He added: “The Donkey Sanctuary’s Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund will enable us to work quickly and in collaboration with other partners to reach donkeys in urgent need, while also supporting the communities that rely on them.

“To improve the lives of people, it is essential to improve the lives of working equids – as they boost the income and resilience of communities.”

As part of the Covid-19 lockdown in Nepal, all non-essential services and industries were ordered to close down – including the country’s brick kilns.

The Donkey Sanctuary said labourers and equines within the brick kilns were ‘often working and living in the harshest conditions’, and were from some of the poorest households.

As a result of the lock down, they had become stranded with minimal supplies and were unable to feed their animals or to travel home.

The Donkey Sanctuary joined up with Animal Nepal to co-fund and distribute urgent relief supplies to the workers and donkeys at the kilns.

The charity’s emergency relief packages for equine-owning households included 25 days’ worth of animal feed, and rice, daal and basic sanitary items for owners.

They were distributed to 167 families and 901 donkeys within the Lalitpur, Dhading and Nepalgunj districts.

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