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Making a difference at the Barabanki Equine Fair

Mike Baker visits Barabanki

What challenges do we face?

Sanctuary sets up at Barabanki Fair

The Barabanki Fair, or the Dewa Mela as it’s also known, has been taking place annually for over a century to commemorate the Sufi saint Haji Waris Ali Shah.

Hundreds of traders and thousands of donkeys, mules and horses descend upon the fair grounds for a week of hectic trading, and an entire local economy springs up around them.

Many of the animals had travelled hundreds of kilometres in groups of 25-30 in trucks legally required to hold no more than six, without access to food or water during the journey. Others had walked the distance over several days.

Education is the key in Barabanki

Community education sessions are a vital part of The Donkey Sanctuary’s work internationally.

At the Barabanki one of northern India’s largest annual equine fairs, they help spread good welfare messages to a large number of people (and thus reach equines) even in areas where we don’t have a direct presence.

The team’s hard work at Barabanki over the last five years has started yielding positive results, with larger numbers of owners from India and Nepal approaching them this year to request education sessions.

We were also told by fair organisers that there was a lot of positive discussion about our stall among owners.