December 25, 2011 –Convoy programme creates safe transport for working equines

Animal Nepal this week organised a large scale donkey convoy from Nepalgunj in western Nepal, to Kathmandu. Due to the great interest among equine owners and brokers, the convoy was joined by 10 trucks with 280 working equines.

Building on the pilot convoy programme which Animal Nepal conducted last Spring, the organization prepared a large scale convoy programme this time round. The programme was organised with the support of the Department of Livestock Services and the Central Animal Quarantine Office.

The convoy arrived from Nepalgunj at Thankot, Kathmandu, after a 24 hour journey across the country. We managed to reduce the travelling hours by 50%, the fees and bribes by 500%. No equine fell sick or injured. Sadly unknown to the staff one pregnant donkey will allowed to join. She gave birth on the journey but her foal did not survive.

Although the convoy can be considered a great success, a number of problems need to be noted. The child handlers this year were recruited in India. Contrary to the Nepalese handlers, they have not received any education in animal welfare. The handlers did not appear to have any compassion for the animals, which was a great source of frustration for our staff. One of our main focus areas this season will be the education of Indian child handlers.

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