With Chinese New Year coming up on Sunday 14th February 2010, the Overseas team at the Sidmouth-based Donkey Sanctuary will be continuing their work towards improving donkey welfare in China.
With over 7 million donkeys, China is home to the greatest number of donkeys in the world where they are traditionally kept for traction, ploughing and other agricultural work. China’s long tradition of keeping donkeys has given rise to innovations such as donkey harness systems that are used throughout the world.
The Sanctuary’s work in China is still in its infancy with many areas of concern yet to be tackled. The Chinese authorities are already acknowledging the growing animal welfare movement in the country and engaging with projects that aim at improving conditions.
Given the enormous scale of China and huge numbers of donkeys, the Sanctuary’s work in this country differs from its other Overseas projects, focusing more on education and workshops for vets throughout China to share The Donkey Sanctuary’s 40 years experience with donkeys. The aim is to use education to spread the message to donkey owners and other professionals.
Joe Anzuino, Head of Veterinary Services, says “Following last year’s successful Donkey Health and Welfare conference, where over 90 Chinese veterinary professionals met with us to share ideas on health and welfare, we will continue working towards improving conditions for donkeys in China. Although there are many social and cultural challenges, the local interest we have attracted so far has been encouraging and we are hoping that regional vets and animal health workers will become advocates for our work.”
The name of The Donkey Sanctuary is difficult to directly translate into Chinese which can lead to some confusion about what the Sanctuary actually does. Participants of recent workshops for Chinese vets were asked to suggest some possible alternative names for the Sanctuary in China; ‘Donkey Love and Care Association’ is currently being field tested, a truly apt name for the work that the Sanctuary undertakes in the UK and overseas.