When donkeys were first brought into the brick kilns of Kathmandu a few years ago, no provision was made for their care or welfare. They quickly became malnourished, dehydrated, and developed open wounds, but were forced to continue working, regardless of illness or injury, until they collapsed by the roadside, where they would be left to die slow, painful deaths. There was no welfare provision for these donkeys at all.
In 2008 the charity Animal Nepal began visiting the kilns, starting by providing veterinary treatments, and in March 2009 it launched an official programme of work, supported by funding from The Donkey Sanctuary. Animal Nepal now also trains kiln owners, labourers and contractors in donkey handling and care, continues to provide mobile vet teams, and has also been setting up pharmacies so that owners can buy donkey medicines. The charity has been introducing an improved type of harness, designed by the Donkey Sanctuary India, and our team in Ahmedabad have also helped train Animal Nepal vets in donkey care.
Animal Nepal is now extending its work to help kiln donkeys in the off-season, when they are simply abandoned in the streets and left to fend for themselves. The charity is also working to prevent the illegal import of equines into Nepal. The Donkey Sanctuary is helping to finance this work, and we are also keen to strengthen Animal Nepal's links with our project in India and offer help with the educational side of its activities.