Myself and Research Assistant Liz Hazell-Smith have just returned from the European Workshop on Equine Nutrition and Welfare. The conference was attended by nearly 300 delegates from around the world who all share an interest in this field.
I was lucky enough to present two studies on donkey nutrition and welfare, one project focussed on nutrition for working donkeys in Mexico and the other was a study assessing feeding related risk factors for diseases like hyperlipaemia which can be fatal. It was great to be able to get donkeys on to the agenda of a meeting otherwise totally dominated by horses.
Both presentations were well received and I was given the honour of being selected to meet and discuss my work with Princess Anne who attended part of the meeting. Princess Anne was very engaging and spent time with me discussing mules and donkeys in Ethiopia, the Sanctuary in general and our non-intrusive research programme - she was extremely knowledgeable and asked some very challenging questions!
We are also continuing to enhance the knowledge of donkeys and mules worldwide by getting them included in important publications. I have recently been working on a donkey and mule chapter for a book on equine nutrition which will be published in 2011. The book is aimed at vets, equine scientists and nurses and should be the key text in this field - it is wonderful that the editors have decided to include donkeys and mules in this kind of publication, the first of its kind.
We have some new projects beginning soon looking at pasture management, alternatives to drugs for parasite control and lice infestations, we'll let you know the progress of the projects.