Communities whose ill and injured donkeys often end up being sold for their meat value at the San Bernabe livestock market in Mexico are benefiting from veterinary treatments and education on donkey care and welfare.
The Temascalcingo and Tianguistenco municipalities are often visited by dealers, who buy fatally-injured donkeys to sell on at the market. As part of a wide-ranging project to improve the conditions at the market and reduce the number of badly-wounded equines being transported and sold there, the team recently began targeting some of these locations which supply animals in such poor condition.
Vets and the education/community development team have been building up a relationship with these communities, which began with the gathering of information on how they and their donkeys live and their attitudes to their animals. They learned that residents use their donkeys for all kinds of work – carrying water, stones and wood, for farming and for transport. The donkeys suffer from wounds, overgrown hooves, skin infections, parasites and insect bites. The donkey owners are aware of the need for food, water, shelter and deworming, along with veterinary care – they said if our vet clinic visited, they would bring their donkeys for treatment. They also asked for some training in how to detect when donkeys are ill and what treatment to give, along with general advice on their donkeys’ welfare needs.
The team have now carried out further workshops with these communities to find out more about their perceptions and attitudes of animal suffering. The vets were involved in both planning and conducting these sessions. As well as veterinary treatments, training and education work is taking place to increase people’s empathy with injured animals, and help them manage and care for their donkeys better.