Today’s blog comes from our collaborators in Nepal, Animal Nepal, who The Donkey Sanctuary funds for its work with donkeys and mules.
How to make packsaddles that do not create or exacerbate wounds on donkeys? How to educate equine owners in a participatory manner so it will have long-lasting benefits for donkeys and the people who live and work alongside them? These and many other questions were addressed in a recent Donkey Sanctuary India (DS India) training programme put together for our equine outreach staff vet Dr Atish Kumar Yadav and vet technician Hari Krishna Shrestha. The five-day training allowed DS India to share invaluable information on equine welfare and the pair returned to Nepal with fresh energy and knowledge.
Some 1,000 equines are employed in brick kilns in the Kathmandu Valley. Shocked to see their conditions, in 2008 Animal Nepal launched a Working Equine Outreach Programme. With the support of The Donkey Sanctuary, we now work in over fifteen brick factories, where we organise regular health camps, help owners and handlers understand their animals better, rescue sick equines and also lobby the authorities for improved conditions and monitoring.
During this recent training of our technical staff, the DS India team shared insights on conducting welfare assessments, the improvement of harness and packsaddles, including making harnesses from discarded cloth, new methods of castration and common hoof-related problems. DS India also took our staff on trips to various brick factories to observe the working conditions and health problems in equines there. Much of our work in Nepal centres on brick kilns also, so this was of particular interest.
Animal Nepal has been supported with technical and financial support by The Donkey Sanctuary for many years. The regular visits by DS India vet Dr Ramesh Kumar and the monitoring visits of the DS India team at equine bazaars have benefited our outreach activities tremendously. This latest training will be invaluable in improving the welfare of working donkey and mules in Nepal.
So thank you to The Donkey Sanctuary and to the team of Donkey Sanctuary India!