Lalitpur, July 24, 2014 – While equines continue to suffer as beasts of burden in brick factories across the country, some good news comes from our working area, Lalitpur district. The death rate among ‘brick donkeys’ working in 16 brick factories decreased with 50% in the first quarter of 2014 compared to 2013.
Other positive developments are the increase in the use of horses and mules compared to donkeys (respectively 35%, 42% and 20%; 3% of equines are foals). As horses and mules are at least eight times more expensive than donkeys, they are better cared for. Equine owners have started introducing carts or buggies, pulled by strong horses and mules in brick factories with a flat terrain. As a result of these developments, the presence of saddle wounds has decreased and the equines’ general condition improved.
Animal Nepal in 2008 introduced an outreach programme after witnessing the grave abuse of equines in brick factories. With the support of Donkey Sanctuary UK, Animal Nepal now works in 16 brick factories in Lalitpur district and occasionally provides treatment and rescue services to equines in Kathmandu and Bhaktapur district.
During the mobile clinics preventive measures are introduced, including vaccinations (Tetanus and Rabies) and worming. Ongoing treatment includes wound management, hoof care and eye infections but also more serious conditions such as dystocia and anal prolapse.
Equine owners and handlers s are given incentives through the awarding of ‘Best Equine Owner’ and “Best Equine Handler’. Fun based educational workshops introduce basic welfare and management messages. Lobbying activities at the national level help to put increased pressure on the industry to introduce improvements.
Animal Nepal’s outreach team of two vets and three technicians looked after a total of 1347 cases in the period January – March. During 2013 no less than 23 sick and handicapped equines were rescued and provided with a loving home at the Godavari Donkey Sanctuary.