A project has begun to find out more about people’s attitudes to donkeys at the end of their working lives. Education officer, Avril Rivero, has begun filming interviews with donkey owners in the Coacalco rubbish dumps, using the vet team’s regular visits as an opportunity to talk to them about what they think is the most humane thing to do with a donkey when it is too old, weak or ill to continue.
One interviewee was a man who showed a lot of sensitivity towards donkeys and was also relatively well-informed, talking about the need to give them vitamins, de-worming treatments and hoof care as well as just food and water. He told Avril that while many donkeys are sent for slaughter at the end of their working lives, he himself had kept his own elderly donkey at home until it died. “They are part of our families,” he said. “They also have feelings, so it is not fair to treat them badly if they give us the benefit of helping us to subsist in our daily work.” He said he had given the donkey a dignified burial, as the donkey was an “animal citizen.”
Further interviews are being carried out, and Avril is sharing the information gathered with our vet Shaaban Fayez in Egypt, who is doing a similar research project on what happens to donkeys which can no longer work in the brick kilns.