The time has finally arrived and the Veterinary Department are in the middle of moving from our old hospital buildings to the brand new, purpose built hospital at Brookfield Farm. This follows a lot of hard work by many people and many departments to coordinate movement of all the equipment, drugs, people and paperwork accumulated over the years!
Donkeys are primarily foragers, evolved from a long line of descendants who spent a long time searching and nibbling a variety of different foods. Here in Birmingham, our team has been coming up with different ways to mimic a donkey’s natural behaviour… and they have come up with the donkey forage box! A clever way of recycling an old toy box, the donkey forage box has a wide opening in the top covered by mesh so that herbs, plants and grasses can be grown through for the donkeys to nibble.
This is a tribute to donkeys (of course!), Donkey Welfare Adviser, Mark Kerr, and a fabulous Donkey Guardian. I had the great pleasure of visiting a guardian home in Mark's area recently. Mandy gave a wonderful home to Eddie and Toffee who had been lovingly trained until they were ready to go out to a forever home by our grooms. And that could have been the end of the story.
It’s not been long since we published our report Under the Skin and the work to help donkeys and their communities has only just begun.
Alex Mayers, Programme Manager, visited Tanzania, where he and Dr Thomas Kahema, founder of The Tanzanian Animal Welfare Society (TAWESO), visited a donkey market believed to be serving the skin trade. During an emotional video, Alex described horrendous conditions for these donkeys as they waited to die.
When I first saw Tommy, he was in a pitiful state, skinny, scruffy and suffering from severely overgrown hooves. His stable was filthy with nowhere clean or comfortable for him to rest. Tommy’s sad eyes met mine as I tried to reassure him. I knew in that moment that his life would change forever that day but he had no idea of what the future held for him.
Cold, damp, miserable. Three adjectives that perfectly described the day when I was called in to help the plight of a small stallion donkey and some other equines. I arrived at the site and looked out on rolling fields, as far as the eye could see there was just mud, no longer any grass, just churned up mud. Loose strands of barbed wire pretended to be some kind of boundary amongst the rusting heaps of metal, rubbish and debris that constituted the squalor that these animals were forced to live in.