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Donkeys help build future in post-war Sri Lanka

When Mary Murika was born prematurely in a hospital in Mannar, Sri Lanka, in 2002 her country was in the middle of a devastating civil war. “Her mother was in constant fear due to the bombing, shelling and gun shots,” says Sister Josephine, director of the Mannar Association for Rehabilitation of Differently Abled People (MARDAP). “They had to run from place to place to survive.”

One of the children feeds at donkey at the donkey assisted therapy centre in Sri Lanka

Villagers on the defensive as donkeys killed for skin trade

Maasai villages in Tanzania are fighting back after nearly a hundred donkeys used for essential tasks like carrying water were killed in recent weeks to meet ever increasing demand for ejiao - donkey gelatin used in traditional medicine and cosmetics in parts of Asia. In Tanzania donkeys perform fundamental tasks like taking children to school and carrying goods to and from market - without them villages struggle to function.

Maasai villagers herding donkeys in Tanzania

Working together for better welfare

Achieving lasting welfare changes for donkeys and mules requires a multi-pronged approach that focuses simultaneously on healthcare provision, community education for behaviour change and policy-level advocacy.

At a large equine fair such as Barabanki in north India, where some 5,000 animals converge in a relatively small area for a week, it becomes even more important to focus on advocacy and networking with fair organisers and local government officials to ensure that facilities for animals are put in place quickly and efficiently.

Mules and ponies being unloaded onto a makeshift mud ramp

In Barabanki, Community Education is Key to Lasting Change

Babloo, a mule owner who works in the brick kilns of Jaunpur district in eastern Uttar Pradesh, India, seemed concerned. Donkeys and mules working in the kiln where he worked suffered regularly from colic, especially in the winter months, with many equines dying from the condition.

On the first day of the Barabanki fair, where he had come to purchase two new mules, he and a group of other equine owners from his village approached one of The Donkey Sanctuary India’s welfare assistants to request a session on colic prevention and treatment.

Babloo (left) and his newly purchased mules

Notes from the Field in Mexico

Emily Silburn is a recent graduate of sociology and Hannah Badham is a vet student, both are from the University of Liverpool and are recipients of The Donkey Sanctuary’s overseas travel grant. They are travelling to Mexico to work with The Donkey Sanctuary Mexico-UNAM. During this time, they will be learning about the work that The Donkey Sanctuary does in rural communities including veterinary outreach and community education programmes.

Donkeys in Xochimilco, Mexico

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