Covid-19 will have a disproportionate impact on the world’s most impoverished communities, impairing the already strained workload on working animals and the families who depend upon them for survival.
The luxury of self-isolation, shelter-in-place, and a disrupted labor market is not an option in regions that already experience extreme hardship. With caution, those of us in “developed economies” are able to visit a mostly stocked grocery store where we purchase and enjoy products that started their journey on the back of a horse, mule or donkey. The working equids and people who are responsible for both international agricultural distribution and local subsistence agriculture will continue to take animals, textiles and goods to crowded markets with no alternatives. They will still have to visit a community well to haul clean water back to their families and execute daily chores. Consider the sudden loss of tourism where horses are the only means to an income. Further, most communities living in abject poverty lack the technology and infrastructure to combat the virus including access to testing, sterile hospitals and supplies, clean water, and trained medical professionals.
With 90% of the world relying on over 100 million working equids for economic survival, the need for EI’s services will be greater than ever before. Although our programs are currently on hold while we prioritize the safety of our volunteers and the vulnerable communities in which we work, the Equitarian team is eager to return to our international friends, colleagues, students, and partners, prepared for a new set of challenges associated with the global pandemic and its unmeasurable effect on those living in poverty. Rest assured, we will be on the frontlines of this effort, working alongside our community partners, providing care and services to help stabilize and rebuild through working animal welfare and community aid.
Please consider a contribution to the Equitarian Initiative so we can ensure timely and safe intervention of our vital services. The most common phrase of this crisis bears repeating: We are all in this together.