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The following is an article from The London Economic.
There are 100 million working horses, donkeys and mules in the world. They are the tractors, taxis and engines that power developing economies, working in the construction industry, carrying food and water, and transporting goods to market. It’s estimated that each animal can support a family of six, so around 600 million people’s lives are supported by a working equine – 8% of the world’s population. Without healthy working horses, donkeys and mules, they wouldn’t be able to put food on their tables, send their children to school or build better futures for themselves and their families. However, it’s estimated that more than half of these animals suffer from exhaustion, dehydration and malnutrition as a result of excessive workloads and limited animal health services
Brooke is an international charity that protects and improves the lives of working equines. The UK based charity works to deliver significant and lasting change, even in some of the world’s most challenging areas. Their teams concentrate on training and support for owners of owners and handlers, as well as local vets, farriers, harness makers and animal traders to improve standards of care. They operate in 11 different countries, and fund small projects in others. Brooke also conducts research, and works with policy makers to make overarching changes to the way governments tackle working equine welfare.
One of the countries that Brooke works in is Kenya, a country with almost 2 million donkeys. Around 50% of people live below the poverty line, so these animals support many people’s lives in both urban and rural areas, transporting food and fuels. Brooke has been working through local partners in the country since 2011, and opened an office in Nairobi in 2013, with programmes stretching from Turkana County in the North to Kajiado in the South. The work focusses on bringing communities together to make donkey welfare a group priority, with a financial focus.
The Kamara Self Help group in a rural location near the town of Molo, Nakuru was set up with Brooke and Farm Systems Kenya (FSK). This group was registered in 2008, with the original aim that group members would help each other through a group micro-credit (“Merry-Go-Round”) scheme. Group savings are lent out to members at low rates of interest, allowing them to buy donkeys and other items. There are around 300 members, organized into four separate groups. Each member in the group has at least two donkeys, and some have up to eight.
FSK members visit the group once a month, implementing training sessions according to a curriculum they have developed. These cover basic animal care, hygiene and first aid as well as handling skills. They also address common myths about how to look after donkeys. For example, people have little knowledge of how to prevent disease, and branding and ear cutting for identification is common.
The members are mostly women who in many cases are the main breadwinners in their family. Although as donkey owners, they are not the worst-off section of society, by UK standards they would be considered very poor. They earn money by collecting firewood from a forest in the area, and then selling it. A timber company fells the trees, allowing the women to harvest the branches for a small monthly fee, which are then carried back by the donkeys. The women have to walk an 18 mile round trip each day that can take up to seven hours, before taking into account the hours of work they need to do when they reach the forest. They do this six days a week, earning up to £3.50 per day for this work.
These earnings cover family expenditure including food, school fees, medical expenses, clothing, savings, and donkey-related expenses including de-worming, hoof trimming and other treatments. They also carry out small scale farming, growing peas, carrots and cabbages to supplement their income. One group member explained that she has just half an acre of land, so the income from her donkey is essential to her family.
In fact, several of the group members explained that the income they get from work with their donkeys was the only thing that allowed them to pay for their children’s education. One said that she had used it to educate her son, who is now studying to be a vet.
According to FSK staff, the women have come a long way in developing their knowledge of donkey welfare and in adopting practices that promote this. They mentioned for instance that group members are now much more likely to seek out professional treatment from vets, and that they have organized themselves to bring all their donkeys together for a day for hoof trimming and de-worming. The meeting was also attended by a farrier and two vets who now work regularly with this group.
Because the donkeys are so essential to people’s livelihoods, groups like this play a vital role in providing a form of insurance to make sure people don’t struggle if a donkey dies or needs medical treatment.
Brooke recently hit a key milestone, now reaching over two million working horses, donkeys and mules each year. In 2016 they also launched a new global strategy to reach even more animals, provide better support for owners, and create lasting change.
The following is an article from Wander Lust.
“You don’t have to be very bright to see if an animal looks like it’s on Death Row,” says Jeremy Hulme, Chief Executive of animal welfare charity SPANA. “If you’re looking at a horse or mule, and it’s head is down, it’s looking thin and its bones are sticking out, it’s obviously not right. If it’s limping, you know it’s got problems.”
Most savvy travelers are now clued up on how animal experiences, from elephant rides to tiger temples, might be harmful to animals. Less attention is paid, though, to horses, donkeys, mules and camels put to work in the tourism industry, which is why SPANA has launched a Holiday Hooves campaign.
Thousands of animals are used in travel experiences, from camel rides and horse-drawn carriages to mules carrying gear on expeditions. The animals are often essential to their owners’ livelihoods, but in some cases are cruelly treated, neglected or kept in poor conditions.
“We have no problem with animals working, as long as they are looked after well,” says Hulme (pictured, right). “They need to be well fed, well looked after and not cruelly treated.”
Horse trekking is just one popular activity where travelers should look out for the state the animals are in. “If someone knows about horses, they can tell from a distance if the animals look good or not. That’s the critical thing.
“You should only use an animal that looks well fed, healthy, fit and happy. You can often tell by the way it looks at you, whether its ears are sharp, whether its coat is shiny, or whether it looks dull, lethargic, thin and bony. You don’t have to be a vet to know whether an animal looks good or not.”
“Maybe you turn up to a group tour and there are nine horses that look fine and one that doesn’t look well,” Hulme continues. “I know people don’t like to be confrontational, but they should have the confidence to say to their tour guide, “Hey, that horse doesn’t look fit enough to be ridden.”
Hulme also suggests checking out the state of the stables and gear, if possible. “Those things will reflect on the state of the animal itself. It will still be dirty if it’s been lying down in feces at night, or soaking wet if it’s been out in the rain all night. You’ll be able to see that, and you’ll be able to see the quality of the gear, whether the saddle is falling to pieces or the harness is held together with a piece of wire.”
Check out animals’ stables (Dreamstime)
SPANA operate currently in nine countries, including Morocco, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Jordan, providing free veterinary treatment to working animals, as well as running education, training, outreach projects and emergency treatment in other parts of the world.
It’s not just horses SPANA look out for. “In Petra in Jordan, for example, there are boys that run donkey rides. Some might be fine, but we should be intelligent enough to say: “No, that’s not right for big adults to sit on a little donkey.” We need to have a bit of common sense.”
Children enjoying donkey rides (Dreamstime)
Travelers should also check out the condition of any camels they plan to ride on, Hulme suggests. “I personally love camels, but they need to be looked after like any other animal.”
How do you tell if a camel, famous for looking grumpy, is ‘happy’? “Perhaps you wouldn’t be able to tell if it’s happy or not. But you can see if they are thin, or their humps have disappeared and their ribs are sticking out. The same common sense rules apply. People can see if it can hardly stand.”
Travelers riding a camel (Dreamstime)
On hiking trips and trekking expeditions, horses, mules and other animals are often loaded – or overloaded – with food supplies and travelers’ luggage. At what point does that become a problem?
“Have a look at the animal’s back and sides before they put the stuff on,” Hulme suggests. “You will see if the harness is bad and has been rubbing. Some animals have open wounds, so it’s an easy thing to check. Then check the general condition. You can see whether it’s a really thin animal, or if it looks well fed and strong. That’s important. And when it’s got the stuff loaded on, you can see if they’re hugely overloaded or not.
Tourist taking the easy way uphill (Dreamstime)
“Mules are strong and noble creatures. I’m really fond of them. They can happily carry the weight of a man. If it’s carrying a couple of backpacks, I’m sure they would cope well. But if they’re trying to carry half a ton of cement, that’s different. You can look at how readily they carry the weight. Does the owner keep beating it to make it move? Is it limping? If it is, say something to the owner or your guide.”
According to a SPANA survey, 28 per cent of British adults who’ve been on holiday abroad have taken part in animal activities like camel rides or horse-drawn carriage trips, where they’ve been concerned for the welfare of the animals involved.
SPANA’s produced a Holiday Hooves guide to help people choose responsible animal tour providers and to advise people on what to do if they see animals being mistreated abroad, the campaign backed by Simon Reeve.
Simon Reeves who’s backed the Holiday Hooves campaign (SPANA)
“Traveling around the developing world, I’ve seen for myself how families rely on working animals for their livelihoods,” says Reeve. “But a life of work shouldn’t mean a life of suffering. These animals work hard and they deserve to be treated with respect and compassion.”
The Holiday Hooves campaign, says Reeve, “is about helping holiday-makers to make informed choices, recognize healthy animals and know what to do if they see mistreatment. It’s also about encouraging tour operators, animal owners and governments around the world to take the issue seriously and – with the public’s support – sending a message that only the highest standards of animal health and welfare are acceptable.”
A happy-looking camel? (Dreamstime)
SPANA’S survey also found that over one in five British adults have seen animals being mistreated when on holiday, but over three quarters of them made no attempt to report the incident.
In the countries where they work, Hulme suggests contacting SPANA if they see signs of mistreatment or neglect. Elsewhere, he suggests using positive pressure, that travelers should praise, use, promote and re-use companies they felt treated animals well, and report negative experiences to local tour operators and hotels, so they don’t use the bad companies.
Horse trekking in the desert (Dreamstime)
“People should go to the tour operator and say, “I’m really disappointed. We went there to have a ride and the horses looked awful. No one is going to use them, so it’s bad for everybody. It’s bad for the owners who wont get any income. It’s bad for the horses because they don’t get fed properly. It’s bad for you guys because it looks bad that you’ve recommend them.” Tour operators will be able to speak the language and try to get something sorted out.”
Above all, Hulme says, it’s about travelers being aware and using common sense. People shouldn’t be put off or stop taking part in thee kind of experiences, Hulme argues. “We need to realize that a lot of these animals are working in countries, like Egypt, where there’s been a drop in tourism and there’s less money. People there absolutely depend on these animals to make a living. We are absolutely not saying, “Don’t use these animals”. We’re just saying, “Use common sense and use a good company.”
The gene mutation responsible for albinism in donkeys on the Italian island of Asinara has been identified by researchers.
A unique albino donkey sub-population lives on Asinara, which was closed to the public in 1885 to become an Italian quarantine site and later a prison colony. The 52 square kilometre island, northwest of Sardinia, is now a national park.
The 100 to 120 albino animals live with coloured − usually grey − donkeys on the island. They interbreed, with no estimate available on the size of the hybrid population.
Luca Fontanesi and his University of Bologna colleagues, in a short communication in the journal Animal Genetics, said the origin of the island’s white donkeys was uncertain and based only on legends. It was possible, they said, that they dated back to before the closure of the island to the public in the late 1800s.
There has been no direct human intervention in the management of the donkeys for more than a century.
The researchers delved into the genetic basis of the donkeys’ albinism, with the animals displaying a completely white coat colour, a lack of pigmentation in the skin, hair, eyelashes and eyebrows, and eyes that are light blue.
These donkeys have poor sight and during sunny days will shelter inside the unused buildings of the prisoner colony.
The study team suspected a mutation in the TYR gene was responsible for the albinism and they were proven correct after analysing data from genetic sequencing of seven Asinara albino donkeys and six coloured donkeys.
They found what is known as a missense mutation, in which a change codes for a different amino acid. In this case it affected copper binding, ultimately resulting in a lack of pigmentation.
The findings were confirmed in genetic testing of further donkeys. In all, 82 were tested.
The study team said the isolation of the population and high inbreeding might be behind the increased frequency of the TYR mutation.
They said the identification of the cause of albinism in the donkeys added a new natural animal model for this particular form of the condition in humans.
Utzeri, V. J., Bertolini, F., Ribani, A., Schiavo, G., Dall’Olio, S. and Fontanesi, L. (2016), The albinism of the feral Asinara white donkeys (Equus asinus) is determined by a missense mutation in a highly conserved position of the tyrosinase (TYR) gene deduced protein. Anim Genet, 47: 120–124. doi:10.1111/age.12386
The short communication can be read here.
Equine charity Brooke has met its goal of reaching two million working horses, donkeys and mules in a single year.
The ambitious goal to reach this vast number of working horses and donkeys to relieve their suffering and improve welfare through training, research and treatment was set almost six years ago.
It is estimated that at least 100 million equines are supporting more than 600 million people in the developing world. The majority of those animals are suffering from exhaustion, dehydration, malnourishment, crippling injuries, lameness, and/or contagious diseases, nearly all of which can be prevented with proper training for their owners.
Measuring the impact of its work is a key focus for Brooke. In 2016, in Nepalese brick kilns where Brooke works the number of animals with eye problems fell by 42%. In Brooke projects in Nicaragua the number of severely underweight animals was reduced by 31% and Brooke Pakistan reduced by 16% the number of animals in their coal mine projects with severe wounds. In the UK, Brooke now has 30 community fundraising groups passionate about raising money for the cause, and almost 10,000 new supporters have jumped on board this year alone.
“Reaching two million horses, donkeys and mules in a year is one of our proudest achievements,” said Chief executive Petra Ingram said.
“We’re so grateful to our donors for enabling us to offer support to so many animals. This success paves the way for the future of Brooke. By 2021 we want to reach even more working horses, donkeys and mules in the greatest need. And we want to ensure that Brooke makes a lasting difference to animals’ lives – so they continue to benefit for generations to come.”
US donors had also contributed to the year’s success, through its American fundraising affiliate Brooke USA.
Brooke USA Chairman Dr David Jones said the organisation would rely on its donors in coming years “as we strive to expand and reach our next goal of five million animals each year by 2021.”
In a huge milestone for Brooke’s global animal welfare and advocacy work, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) announced this year the first set of welfare standards for working horses, donkey and mules. Furthermore contribution of working equines to food security was officially recognised by the UN in livestock recommendations formally endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS).
“This means that the needs of countless horses, donkeys and mules who have laboured for so long without recognition can no longer be ignored. They’re on the international agenda – giving Brooke a hard-won opportunity to reach more of the world’s 100 million working equines than ever before,” Ingram said.
Heralding this new chapter, Brooke launched its new brand in 2016, including the new strapline “Action for working horses and donkeys” to create instant understanding of the charity’s work and the role of animals in the everyday life in a world where fewer than 20% of people have access to a motor vehicle.
Brooke currently works primarily India, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kenya, Egypt, Ethiopia, Senegal, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and has pilot projects in several other developing countries.
Brooke appointed five new trustees including three from countries where it works, helping to bring it closer to the communities that rely on working animals.
Brooke’s new overseas trustees are CEO of Change Alliance in India, Belinda Bennett, CEO of Emerge Africa Ed Rege, based in Kenya, and Cheikh Ly, from Senegal, a veterinary school full tenure professor. The UK trustees are Graeme Cooke, the UK’s Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer and former Veterinary Director of the World Governing body of Horse Sport (FEI) and Sarah Arnold, a specialist trust and estates solicitor.
The following is from ReliefWeb.
How does your doctor get to the clinic in the morning? A safe bet would be to say a car. Perhaps a bicycle for the health conscious doctor or public transit for the urban doctor. In Haiti this past November, a mobile medical team from B.C. with Heart to Heart Haiti used 22 motorcycles and four donkeys to get to their patients. Now that paints a picture of how hard it is to access medicine for some rural populations.
“We did some serious off-roading as we climbed the mountain,” wrote Rebecca, the organizer.
The path had been damaged by Hurricane Matthew in October making it even worse than usual. On the day of the clinic in Tetbef, the donkeys were packed at 4:30 a.m. and ready to take the supplies, including three Humanitarian Medical Kits ( 2 for primary care and one Mother-Child Health Kit) provided by Health Partners International of Canada (HPIC).
When the team arrived later in the morning, there were more people than they expected. In total 150 people were seen on this one day. Malaria, typhoid, respiratory tract infections and joint pain were mostly what brought them. Seven more clinics were held like this one and a total 1,396 patients were seen- more than half were children and the elderly.
“In Canada we can comfort our children and elderly with fever and pain management,” said Lauren Rose, a nurse on the team who submitted a report to HPIC. “This is not an option for 99% of the people we see here in Haiti.”
In each clinic they saw a lot of patients with fever. “We treated these patients and it is probable that death by sepsis, malaria or typhoid was prevented,” she reported to HPIC. The Humanitarian Medical Kits are always “an essential core item” for their trips to Haiti.
The following is an article from Morocco World News.
The General Authority for Veterinary Services at the Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture has agreed to export 10,000 donkeys to Chinese drug companies.
According to Arabic-language news source, Alarabiya, the head of the General Authority for Veterinary Services, Ibrahim Mahrous, confirmed news of the agreement, adding that the exportation will conform to an Islamic ruling from Alazhar University of Islamic Studies. The ruling requires the donkeys to be exported alive and not slaughtered.
The sale of donkeys has grown profitable for Chinese sellers, with China’s supply of donkeys shrinking from 11 million to 6 million. The internal demand for donkeys has increased, and China is now seeking to import more donkeys from around the world.
Donkey hides are used in China to produce a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) known in China as ‘Ejiao’. This medicine is mainly prescribed for women who suffer from anemia, dry coughs or dizziness.
The same source adds that a Korean company made an offer to Egyptian authorities to import dogs. The Egyptian authorities are currently considering the offer as animal rights organizations have rejected the killing of stray dogs, a practice which has been growing lately.
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.”
When I posted this on Facebook about mules in the Bible…
Origins: The mule is mentioned in mankind’s earliest records. Consider this passage from the Bible: “And Absolom met the servants of David. And Absolom rode upon a mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught hold of the oak, and he was taken up between the Heavens and the earth, and the mule that was under him went away.” (II Samuel 18:9). If you choose to ride a mule, you will need a good sense of humor!!!
…we were asked about mules really being in the Bible. We sent an email to a Rabbi inquiring about the translation of the ancient Hebrew word for “mule” or “pered.” Here is the reply:
“Solomon rode on a mule (1Ki 1:38) because his father David told Zadok, Nathan, and Benaiah to “cause Solomon my son to ride upon mine own mule” (v 33). This is the word for a “she-mule” (BDB, TWOT). Its three Old Testament uses are all in this passage (see v 44), referring to one mule, David’s. Solomon’s riding on David’s mule in company with David’s advisors gave a clear message: he was the successor David had chosen. Years later in secular history, female mules became preferable for riding and males for bearing burdens. That may have been a factor in David’s having this special mule. Second, an observation. David’s sons all rode on (male) mules (2Sa 13:29) and Absalom rode a mule at the end of his life (2Sa 18:9). Since a mule is crossbred between a mare and a male donkey, and since crossbreeding was prohibited in Israel (Lev 19:19), mules were likely imported (TWOT), and were thus more valued. They (along with horses, silver, and gold, etc.) symbolized the wealth that other kings brought to Solomon annually (1Ki 10:25). Third, a suggestion. The greatest reason for David’s choice of a mule rather than a horse may have been God’s prohibition for kings (Deu 17:16): they were not to multiply horses to themselves. David was careful in this. Solomon, to his own destruction, was not (1Ki 10:26, 28).”
The following is an article by Sifelani Tsiko for allafrica.com
A local non-Governmental organisation says it is targeting to provide free clinical treatment and care to 35 000 donkeys countrywide. Donkeys have grown to be Zimbabwe’s working animals that offer important support for the lives and livelihoods of rural communities.
Animal and Wildlife Area Research and Rehabilitation (AWARE) director, Dr Keith Dutlow said the programme was part of efforts to provide treatment and care to the animals.
He was speaking at an event to open an education centre for children at the Lion and Cheetah Park in the capital.
“Last year, we treated about 28 000 donkeys in all the country’s 10 provinces and this year we are targeting to treat 35 000 donkeys,” said the animal rights lobbyist and wildlife veterinarian.
“It’s an opportunity to examine each donkey that comes to us for health checks. Sometimes owners are not aware that their animals are sick. Half the times they are not aware and this will certainly give us an opportunity to treat all animals.”
Zimbabwe has a donkey population of more than 150 000.
The population of donkeys is probably an under estimate, and Dr Dutlow said Zimbabwe needs to conduct a survey to ascertain the numbers and help provide information that is critical for the treatment and care of the ‘beast of burden.’
“A survey has not been done for decades and we need to do it now to help us plan and enhance our treatment and care of the donkeys,” he said.
The prominent veterinarian has been part of a passionate group of wildlife experts trying to save Zimbabwe’s animals.
“Donkeys have huge benefits for our rural communities and economies. Good protection and care of donkeys means more benefits for our communities and their livelihoods.”
The Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad (SPANA) is providing funding support to AWARE to provide free veterinary treatment for donkeys in areas such as Buhera, Chipinge, Beit Bridge, Chivi, Gokwe, Gweru, Muzarabani and other rural districts.
AWARE rural mobile donkey clinics will provide veterinary care, dental care, hoof trimming, wound treatment and de-worming, as well as instruction on proper handling techniques and care of the animals.
Donkeys in most parts of Zimbabwe are vital to the livelihood of their owners, carrying supplies and providing transportation and farming support.
“Our initial assessment of the donkey population revealed a complete lack of preventive healthcare such as vaccinations and de-worming,” said Dr Erick Mutizhe, a senior vet for the SPANA Zimbabwe programme.
This is excerpted from an article by Simon Allison for The Daily Maverick.
Forget gold, diamonds or rhino horn. The hottest commodity in Africa right now – the most prized ass-et, if you will – is the humble donkey, thanks to a critical donkey shortage in China. But even this hardy beast of burden is struggling to carry the weight of an insatiable demand.
Humanity owes a lot to the donkey. Domesticated for over five millennia, donkeys have been used for farming, transport, food and warfare. Hardy, reliable and uncomplaining, they are the ultimate beast of burden, not to mention the preferred ride of a certain Jesus Christ.
But as the world has industrialised, so donkeys are losing their place in it. Machines farm better, cars are faster, and donkey meat is an acquired taste. Only the very poorest communities still rear and rely on donkeys for their day-to-day needs.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in China. After two decades of high economic growth, the country’s donkey population has nearly halved: from 11-million in the late 1990s to just six million today.
The precipitous decline in donkey numbers has had an unintended consequence for a lucrative local industry: Chinese traditional medicine. When boiled, donkey skin produces a rubbery, gelatine-like substance, known as ejiao, which is believed to cure coughs, relieve insomnia and revitalise blood. It is a key ingredient in many popular Chinese tonics and medicines.
But these days, there simply aren’t enough Chinese donkeys to make enough ejiao, so manufacturers are looking further afield. Specifically, there are looking to Africa, where donkey populations remain in rude health.
This is an excerpt from an article at plus55.com.
The story of the Brazilian Northeastern region is intricately linked to the donkey. For centuries, the resilient animal assisted people in their struggle for survival in the poorest and most arid parts of the country. In recent years, though, the situation has changed and the animal appears more as a nuisance than a cultural symbol.
Estimates suggest that over the last decade, thousands of animals have been abandoned, often substituted for mechanic labor including tractors, for farming, or motorcycles for transport. The latter saw an expansion from 1.2 million to 6.9 million vehicles between 2003 and 2016 (an increase of 600 percent). Left to themselves, the donkeys have multiplied and are now causing trouble in many states.
One of the few statistics on the subject hints at the size of the problem. Between 2010 and 2013 in just the western part of Rio Grande do Norte state, donkeys caused at least 100 road accidents — and 60 percent were lethal. The Federal Road Police states that the majority of the over 8,000 road accidents involving animals in the northeast over the last four years are related to donkeys.
Many towns are trying to come up with a solution to the overpopulation of donkeys. In July, the state of Bahia approved a bill to regulate the killing of the donkeys; their meat is now sent to feed zoos, and the skin sold to international markets including China. The first 300 animals – the majority of which are captured on state roads – have been sacrificed.
In 2014, state representatives of Rio Grande do Norte contemplated the use of donkey meat to feed inmates and students of the public school system, although the idea was rejected. Other mayors from the Northeast area supported human consumption of the meat, but major obstacles remain with the cultural barrier. People simply don’t want to eat it.
MAWO, a non-profit organization, was founded by Johnson Lyimo in 2016, and its hands-on work with animals including rabies vaccination clinics, donkey vaccination and spay days and weekly dog dipping. But MAWO also contributes much of its time into educating the younger generations on animal welfare. We believe this is where the change will begin.
Johnson Lyimo stands proud in his community as an animal rights ‘activist’ but holds respect among others for the way he shows it. Education is key.
As of now MAWO is running hands-on animal welfare workshops in schools and communities; it is the tip of the iceberg but we are seeing a difference. We teach ‘stand proud and feel committed for your animals’. Take on responsibility.
Beside that we spin weekly and monthly, veterinary clinics (It’s Africa Time Anything Can Happen) in varied locations throughout Tanzania, one place being Lorborsoit. This was where I saw distress in an animals’ eyes I had never seen before. Not on a large scale, some were looked after but there were a few that were forgotten.
This is a repost of an article from Deccan Chronicle.
Donkey meat is popular amongst some communities in Burkina Faso, but exports of the animal’s meat and hides have soared in recent years, mostly to China.
Burkina Faso has banned the export of donkeys, ending a massive surge in sales of meat and skins to Asia, an official said Tuesday.
The government adopted a decree on August 3 “regulating the slaughter and banning exports” of donkeys as well as horses and camels, said Adama Maiga, director for public veterinary health.
All slaughter will have to be done in “officially recognised” abattoirs, Maiga told AFP, adding that the legislation is designed to keep the donkey population at a sustainable level following the boom in international sales.
Donkey meat is popular amongst some communities in Burkina Faso, but exports of the animal’s meat and hides have soared in recent years, mostly to China.
Exports of hides rose from 1,000 in the first quarter of 2015 to more than 18,000 by the last quarter, Maiga said.
He added that the nation’s reserve of an estimated 1.4 million donkeys — used by many farmers for transport in one of the world’s poorest countries — was being “over-exploited”.
While the roaring trade has brought wealth to some as prices for donkeys have soared, it has also brought controversy to Burkina Faso.
Last month residents of the village of Balole, on the outskirts of the capital, ransacked an abattoir set up by a French and Chinese consortium in protest at the stench it was producing, as well as air, land and water pollution.
“Hey, Augie! It sure is hot…great day for a bath don’t you think?”
“Well, Roll seems pretty pleased after his bath looking in the window at
himself like that! Who needs a mirror?!”
“Hey, Spuds! I found a gold mine of oats AND grass!!!”
“A little WET, but not too bad!”
“Oooooh! That water is kinda cold, Spuds! Shocking!!!”
“Don’t pout, Spuds! It isn’t THAT cold and she will be done with you
in a minute! Suck it up!”
“What’s up, Spuds? Eat your oats!”
“I can’t be BOUGHT, Augie!”
“No Spuds, but you could cut off your nose to spite your face!”
“Hey, Mom…come back! I want the oats now!”
“You’re lucky she came back, Spuds!”
“We are two REALLY LUCKY guys, Augie! She’s the best!”
Donkeys have a lot of behaviors that owners might find strange. One of these is dropping their spine, or “sinking,” when you put a hand on their back. Not all donkeys will do this, but many of them will, especially when they are young and or haven’t been handled routinely. I’ve personally had experience with donkeys sinking to the point that they’ll go down to the floor on their knees and bellies. You may also commonly recognize this behavior in cats and dogs.
In order to understand what’s happening, it is important to understand the intervertebral equine anatomy. “Intervertebral” refers to the opening between two jointed vertebrae for the passage of nerves to and from the spinal cord. When a foal is first born, their bones and cartilage are soft and flexible, and their nerves in these areas are hypersensitive —especially over the spine.
A foal that has not had the benefit of imprinting will be much more sensitive and generally reactive to touch than one that has been imprinted. Imprinting begins to desensitize nerve endings throughout the body wherever the animal is touched. However, the primary focus when imprinting is usually on the head, neck, ears, around the eyes, mouth, and down the legs, with only a passing swoop over the back and croup. Thus, the back does not get as much desensitization during imprinting and is largely ignored until grooming comes into the picture, and later, tack and equipment.
As the foal ages, muscles begin to develop under and around the nerves thanks to ongoing exercise. When muscles get harder and toned, though still maintaining their elasticity, they put pressure on the nerves from the inside of the body. You will start to notice that the foal that used to “jump” out from under your touch is now increasingly tolerant, and his reactions are not as abrupt and overdone. Foals that are more active in their exercise tend to be less likely to sink their backs, as their hardened muscles have begun to desensitize the nerves to some extent. Softer, untoned muscles do not affect nerves in the same way, so less active foals will usually have a more drastic reaction to touch.
With the right kinds of controlled passive leading exercises, the foal’s body can grow properly, conditioning muscles symmetrically and allowing the body to develop balanced equine posture. This conditioning allows for efficient movement, maximum blood circulation, internal organs working as intended, joints bending correctly, and nerve impulses firing in an unobstructed and healthy manner. When the animal is not exercised with good postural balance in mind, his way of going can be compromised. Though his unbalanced movement may not be apparent to the untrained eye, it can still produce pinched nerves and pain. If you have an animal that sinks to your touch, it is up to you to determine whether the reaction is a case of sensitivity due to minimal touch, or a more serious case of pinched nerves.
You can help desensitize your equine in a healthy way by continuing to imprint throughout the training process. Don’t just limit imprinting to a birth exercise, but pay attention to every phase and opportunity for touch. When grooming with the shedding blade for instance, pay special attention to the pressure over different places on your equine’s body. You can apply more pressure to fatty areas, but be sure to lighten up over the bony areas, as it can cause pain. Too much pressure over the spinal nerves will produce the sinking effect. When using your brushes over the body, be sure to use short flicks instead of long strokes. Short flicks induce more passive pressure over the nerves, which not only removes dirt more efficiently, but also provides more endurable pressure over the nerves that will eventually minimize your equine’s sensitivity. With these careful and detailed practices, the sinking effect will soon disappear.
These kinds of initial training practices will greatly enhance the training experience for both you and your equine. All behaviors, bad or good, arise from the way you do things with your animal, and you will only gain his trust when you make him feel good. When he feels good, his behavior will be good. Preparing him properly before asking him to carry tack and equipment, and later, a rider, will make the process much easier for him to accept, and will avoid the adverse behaviors and even painful or severe consequences that can develop without proper preparation. Be patient and always take the extra time to do the little things that will enhance your time together. It will be well worth the effort!
Lucky Three Ranch knows a thing or two about elderly equines—miniature mule Lucky Three Franklin just celebrated his 40th birthday on April 1, and we’ve been happy to celebrate many of our other equines through their 20s and 30s.
That’s why we’re very happy to acknowledge Tootsie, a resident of the wonderful Donkey Sanctuary in Ireland, who is an incredible 54 years old—making him one of the oldest mules ever. The Donkey Sanctuary rescued Tootsie in 1992, and he is part of their “Super Grannies” group of equines that are all over 30 years old, who receive special treatment, feed, and love from the Sanctuary’s volunteers.
Curious about other historically aged equines? Longears have the opportunity to live particularly long lifespans, so there may be many out there, but here are a few we know about: Suzy, Rosie and Eeyore, donkeys who lived to be 54; Flower, who is believed to have reached the age 70; and Joe, a 45-year-old full-sized mule from Colorado Springs who’s still around today.
Wishing well to all of these sweet seniors!
This is an excerpt of an article at the Equine Chronicle.
Every day in Ethiopia, 9 million working horses, donkeys, and mules are supporting 54 million poor people who depend on them. Now, as Ethiopia is struggling through 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. While these extremely important animals are being utilized to help people, the Brooke has launched an emergency response to help those animals.
The Brooke is the world’s largest international equine welfare charity, dedicated to alleviating the suffering of working equines in the developing world. Brooke USA, the American fundraising arm of the Brooke, exists to support vital programs like this one, which will supply emergency feed for 600 working equines each day for a month, and will deliver water for up to 1,800 equines each day.
Brooke USA donors make it possible for the Brooke to be ready during natural disasters like this, to provide very practical aid to the animals and to help ensure the livelihoods of their owners by keeping their animals alive until the rains come again. Please help us to continue to be ready in times of crisis through tax-deductible donations: www.BrookeUSA.org/give-money.