Travelling up to Chalford in Gloucestershire yesterday morning with Amanda Gordon, we got chatting about her trip last week to see the work of the Sanctuary in Mexico.
I won't go into detail about her experiences here, but want to mention the impact the photos Amanda showed me of her visit, especially that of the Coacalco rubbish dump. I wept with tears.
A 5 day old foal picked up and put on top of a cart full of rubbish. It's mother put alongside a harnessed donkey was clearly distressed at not being able to see her foal.
A skeletal-looking horse being treated by our clinic for a leg wound, it's head hung low. (We carry out a joint project with World Horse Welfare so that in Mexico the horses can be treated as well as the donkeys and mules.)
Heavily laden carts overshadowing the smaller donkeys.
Carts with truck tyres sunk half way in the mud and water, donkeys struggling to pull the weight.
The badly fitted harnessing and head collars.
Raw wounds on their faces where nose bands were too tight. Our team advising an owner on how to fit head collars properly.
Scars across backs from whip lashings.
Images of sad, sad eyes.
Amanda's images captured the essence of the hardship these animals are burdened with and for what they have to endure day in and day out. It's small comfort knowing that we have a team able to offer treatment and offer help to all the animals who pass through the gates to the rubbish dump.
I wrote a poem shortly after while on a camping weekend at a folk festival as couldn't get what I saw out of my mind. In the pitch dark fumbling for paper and pen I scribbled the following down:
Sorrow in our hearts
At only 5 days old, I am surrounded by stench and flies.
My mother frets as she cannot see me with her tender loving eyes.
Don't fret mother dear for I am not very far away.
I've been put among the rubbish where I struggle to stand and bray.
I try to call out your name as you begin to pull the cart.
Hauling a heavy load of rubbish with sorrow in your heart.
As my mother pulls me out of the dump, I see a stranger ahead.
He looks concerned as he notices the sores on my mother''s head.
With gentle hands he treats her wounds and dresses them with care.
Is this the life I am destined to lead and will somebody be there?
I give a bray of hope that someone will notice me from the start.
When I begin to pull my own heavy load with sorrow in my heart.