The following is an excerpt from The Herald.
Zimbabweans need to change their attitudes towards donkeys and embrace the protection and care of the working animals, which have been at the centre of rural economic growth and development for decades, veterinary experts say.Animal and Wildlife Area Research and Rehabilitation (AWARE) director, Dr Keith Dutlow told Zimpapers Syndication at an event to open an education centre for children at the Lions Park in the capital that even though donkey usage is wide spread and extensively adopted in many communities across the country, their use has been masked in negative perceptions and attitudes.
“Donkeys play a significant role in the livelihoods of local communities especially in arid regions, where conditions are harsher. But our perceptions towards donkeys are still negative,” he said. “Those who use donkeys are seen by their peers in society as primitive, backward and people of low status. Even among the donkey owners and users, the donkey image is not to be held highly and as a result they abuse and mistreat them in the process of working the animals. We need to change our perceptions and appreciate the economic value of the working animals. Donkeys are a big asset to combat poverty and hardship in poor communities, and if you were to transfer the benefits — transport, draught power, hiring and all, this can run into thousands of dollars.”