Kathmandu, May 8, 2014 – “Donkeys deserve Dignity.” That was the motto of today’s World Donkey Day celebrations, coordinated by Animal Nepal. Donkeys rescued from brick factories were garlanded and provided with healthy snacks. Improved harnesses were handed out to working donkeys.
Animal Nepal on World Donkey Day called for better welfare standards for donkeys, ‘one of the most loyal and hardworking animals in the world’. “With thousands of donkeys toiling in brick factories and at construction sites, it is high time standards are put into place and budgets are allocated for their treatment”, said Uttam Kafle, Director at Animal Nepal.
World Donkey Day is celebrated across the globe to show appreciation and raise awareness for this undervalued working animal.
There are more than 40 million donkeys in the world, mostly in developing countries, where they are used as pack animals. In developed countries donkeys are kept for breeding or as pets.
Animal Nepal today worshipped some 25 donkeys at its sanctuary as well as Goddess Shitala, who rides a donkey. She is one of the most popular Hindu deities whose origin can be traced back to the days of nature worship. Shitala is worshipped under different names across the Subcontinent, by Hindus, Buddhists and tribal communities.
The programme was organized by Animal Nepal’s outreach team and veterinary students from different colleges.
Around 1000 equines (horses, mules and donkeys) work in brick factories in Kathmandu Valley. Their welfare tends to be ignored and ‘brick donkeys’ often are forced to work till they drop, or die. Nepal’s donkeys suffer from beatings, overloading, malnourishment, and a lack of medical care.
Animal Nepal, with the support of The Donkey Sanctuary, works in over fifteen brick factories, in which regular health camps are held and owners and handlers are educated. Sick and handicapped equines are provided with a new lease on life in a sanctuary supported by Animal Aid Abroad and Help Animals India.
During the event Animal Nepal also handed out donkey saddles in nearby brick factories. The improved saddles will help to prevent body sores from the heavy loads.