When we post about our international work to improve donkey/mule welfare, there are often people who simply can’t believe how or why the animals end up in the situations that they are in. Some people express real anger towards the owners or handlers of the animals but the reality is that the lives of the people in many areas that we work are also extremely hard as a result of poverty, economic crisis and very poor living conditions.
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International Team's blog
Harness Maker, Farid Shawky, works at the Egyptian Society for the Protection and Welfare of Working Animals (ESPWWA) who are our major partners in Egypt. He has written and documented this story of change in southern Egypt. Well done to the ESPWWA team in making such a big change to the lives of donkeys.
Here is Farid's story...
“Women and donkeys like to be beaten”, “Women and donkeys are doing as they have been told by men”, “Women and donkeys are the same” – these are some of the proverbs elicited at a workshop on gender myths conducted during research by The Donkey Sanctuary on the socio-economic value of donkeys in central Ethiopia. Each saying demonstrates the inexorable link between donkeys and the women who rely on them and how discussion of gender equality this International Women’s Day should also include donkeys.
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.
Whether in the brick kilns of India or green meadows of Devon – foot problems are an issue affecting donkeys across the world. Twenty-nine people currently practise farriery in our projects internationally, but some in different ways to others. To make the most of their wealth of knowledge and experience The Donkey Sanctuary recently organised a workshop in Egypt to bring people together from across the world to share ideas and put together competency standards everyone could take home.
With rugged hills and mountains, Dansa village in Hintalo Wijerat district, 9 miles from Mekelle city in Tigray region, is the home of 250 donkeys in 300 households. The community in Dansa village relies heavily on subsistence farming. Every Monday and Friday many donkey owners in Dansa village transport vegetables and fruits to markets in Mekelle town. Due to uneven hilly topography, donkey owners in the village have to fasten a strap to a pack saddle looping under the tail of their donkey to prevent the load from slipping forward. In the past the strap was a rough thin rope which caused a wound under the tail, known as a crupper wound, on many donkeys. Based on an assessment we did two years back in a focus group discussion with donkey owners in Dansa village, 97% of donkeys had crupper wounds.