Donkey Sanctuary UK team goes local!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

19 March, 2015– Animal Nepal this month was honoured to receive a visit from a high level team from The Donkey Sanctuary UK. The purpose of the visit was to observe Animal Nepal’s Working Equine Outreach Programme and discuss further collaboration. The DSUK team consisted of Stephen Blakeway, Julia Smith and Dr. Ramesh Kumar. More

Donkey Sanctuary India provides valuable training to Animal Nepal staff

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

How to make saddles that do not create wounds on donkeys? How to educate equine owners in a participatory manner? These and many other questions were addressed in a recent Donkey Sanctuary India training programme. Animal Nepal’s equine outreach members Dr. Atish Kumar Yadav and vet technician Hari Krishna Shrestha returned with fresh energy and knowledge.

More

‘A donkey is not a machine’

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

When the Animal Nepal team recently reached Kantipur Brick Factory and found that sick ‘brick donkeys’ were kept together with healthy ones, they immediately rolled up their sleeves. Together with the equine owners, they build an isolation unit.  The team were able to treat over 16 equines suffering from saddle wounds, hoof problems, dehydration, skin problems and/or undernourishment. More

Kudos to Animal Aid Abroad Australia tour group!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

At the start of the year the Animal Nepal team was pampered with the visit of  a team of volunteers from Animal Aid Abroad Australia (AAA). The eleven enthusiastic AAA members came with the purpose of getting to know Animal Nepal better and donating lots of useful medicines and special equipment, including a microscope. More

Voices of Animals at Planet Nepal 3

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Kathmandu, November 1, 2014– Animal Nepal was able to make a remarkable presence on the Planet Nepal 3, the festival of arts & environment. The main aim of the participation was to make people aware about the role of animals.  It was the exhibitions of portraits of animals from our shelter, mostly by photographer and designer Nirmal Rana, with their added voices that drew the people to the stall. More

Donkey abuse petition handed over to Federation of Brick Industries

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

“Please stop the abuse against equines working in brick factories. They do not deserve a life like this. Hire humans to work not equines, don’t just look at money. Have a heart and stop all this abuse.” – Sita Pun

“If you have animals working for you, it is your job to make sure they are in good health at least. I hope government will activate some projects to monitor health and hygiene.” – Sidhanta Shrestha

“Giving torture to such innocent animal is the example of cruelty…need to stop right now…” – Hema Gurung

These were some of the comments among the 125,000 signatures collected in just two weeks to stop equine abuse in Nepal’s brick factories. The petition was posted by Animal Nepal on Care2.com to raise awareness about the grave abuse by some owners.

The petition was handed over to Mr Mahendra Bahadur Chitrakar, President of the Federation of Nepal Brick Industries, on May 12, 2013.  The Federation of Brick Industries is committed to promoting a responsible industry, and has taken a strong stance against child labour.

Animal abuse is a new theme for the industry, explained Mr Chitrakar, who has agreed to discuss the issue with the members. Animal Nepal has developed a Memorandum of Understanding for the entrepreneurs involved, in which they commit to reject sick, pregnant or handicapped equines and support improved management in terms of shelter, feeding, no beating, no overloading, first aid kit, 8-hour working hours, and providing one holiday per week.

The petition is directed to the Ministers of Agriculture, Finance and Industries, who will receive the petition next week.

Quarantine Chief visits brick factory

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

‘This is awful.” That was the reaction of Dr. Bodh Prasad Parajuli, Chief of Central Animal Quarantine Office, when he saw the conditions of working equines in brick factories  on April 29, 2013. The government chief visited Santaneshwor Brick Factory, among Lalitpur’s worst fourteen brick factories employing equines.

Dr Parajuli warned the equine owners that equine abuse cannot be accepted by his Department. He also realized the owners do not possess the required health cards.

Animal Nepal has urged government authorities such as Department of Livestock Services, Animal Health and Quarantine to address the issue of equine abuse in brick factories.

Dr Parajuli agreed to promote detailed monitoring in quarantine check posts and is to activate the Veterinary Council of Nepal and Nepal Veterinary Association to stop the distribution of health certificates for unhealthy equines. It is agreed that a joint meeting with the various government agencies will be held to address the problems in an effective and lasting manner.

Animal Nepal requested Dr Parajuli to strictly follow existing regulations, especially when equines are imported from India, and to improve conditions during the transportation of equines from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj and vice versa.

Animal Nepal shocked by conditions in New Bhairab brick factory

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Lubhu, April 12, 2013 – Animal Nepal’s working equine outreach team today was shocked to find a grave case of animal abuse in New Bhairab brick factory in Lubhu, Lalitpur. A mule, which was literally worked to death, died this morning from deep trauma saddle wound on its back. The wounds were so severe that the mule’s spine and vertebrae were exposed.

Donkey Sanctuary India’s managing vet Ramesh Kumar said he had never come across such a serious case of equine abuse. “I am deeply saddened to see the conditions of equines in Kathmandu’s brick factories, and vow to do whatever possible to improve their lives,” said Dr Kumar. Already 15 equines died in a similar manner in the factory since December. Over 30% of surviving 47 equines suffer from malnutrition, saddle wounds, blindness or other injuries.

Animal Nepal’s team of paravets is presently being trained in wound management, PRA methods, hoof cutting and tooth rasping.

Animal Nepal, apart from providing training to equine owners and child handlers, conduct regular mobile clinics in brick factories. The organisation has launched a campaign to improve the conditions of ‘brick donkeys’.

Supporters are requested to sign this petition on Care2.com.

Animal Nepal is a founder of Brick Clean Network Nepal, which promotes a responsible brick industry. A write up on ‘Blood Bricks’ , produced with the blood of countless working equines, child workers and bonded labourers, by Animal Nepal’s volunteer directors Pramada Shah and Lucia de Vries, can be found here.

Donkey in the back











Night was falling when I drove Animal Nepal’s rickety ambulance towards the Donkey Sanctuary. A man on a motorbike passed the car and looked inside. His face froze; he decreased his speed. Soon he drove along the ambulance, glancing inside.

The man was not eve teasing. He was looking at the patient in the back of the car, an adult white donkey, positioned rather uncomfortable in the tiny car. The donkey’s head partly stuck outside the window, her nostrils flaring. Once in a while she tried to reach me with her nose, as if to say, ‘please take me out of here.’

That morning Animal Nepal’s three vets, Sudeep, Surendra and Parisha, and myself drove to a remote brick factory in the Kathmandu Valley. The ambulance had trouble getting there; we had to cross streams, and navigate around boulders and bricks, apparently fallen off trucks. The kiln was located in a beautiful spot, on the shores of the Bagmati river, amidst fields covered in flowering bright yellow mustard, dotted with traditional mud houses. A scene from a tourist postcard.

However, when we parked the car inside the factory a very different picture emerged. Children dressed in rags, carrying younger siblings on their back, surrounded the ambulance. Their faces were covered in dust; some of the toddlers’ heads were shaven to prevent lice. There were no adults around; while the parents worked the children had to take of themselves and each other. None of the children had any toys. A boy wearing a dirty Nepali topi[1] pulled a wooden brick mold behind him through the dust.

We had to walk up a hill to find what we came for. The open air factory employs some fifty donkeys, mules and horses to carry unfired mud bricks from a hilltop down to the kiln where they are baked. Today we brought a first aid box and planned to teach the donkey owners (four in total) how to use the medicines.

The owners in this particular factory are cooperative, and often call us when a donkey is sick. Still, we were shocked by the conditions of the animals. They were overloaded and continuously beaten by wiry handlers, boys from poor families, as young as eleven.

The vets immediately started treating the animals. Apart from saddle wounds the donkeys and mules suffered from hoof problems and eye infections. One severely malnourished mule stood alone, too weak to move. “Minimum one week rest and mineral supplements twice a day,” adviced Sudeep, after providing the poor creature with a medicine to promote digestion. A mule suffering from laminitis, a very painful condition caused by inflammation of the hoof, was given two weeks rest.

“Please have a look at one of my new donkeys,” one owner requested, “she is blind and her back legs don’t work properly.” We walked over to the night shelter and found a pathetic looking donkey, lying on the path. The creature was dehydrated and malnourished, and seemed unable to walk. The vets became agitated. “Why did you not call us earlier? We won’t allow you to keep this donkey here in these conditions,” they told the owner.

A long debate started, in which the owners explained that someone took the donkey here from another kiln, and that, yes, he was agree to send the animal to our sanctuary. What’s more, he and his friend would personally carry her to the car.

That was how Shree Devi, as the donkey was named, ended up in the back of our ambulance.
Shree Devi at first was apprehensive. After the long, bumpy ride to Godavari, we had to literally pull her to her retirement home, supporting her back legs.

After her arrival the twelve other resident donkeys left the night shelter to sniff at Shree Devi. She easily passed the test. Then she enjoyed the first of many nourishing meals in her new home.

Animal Aid Abroad in 2010 supports Animal Nepal’s working donkey outreach programme and sanctuary for the second year. We support some 500 donkeys in ten brick kilns and hope to expand our programme to more brick factories later this year. Donkey and kiln owners claim that thanks to our work the conditions of donkeys have greatly improved. They say that the loads are smaller, that beating has decreased, and that the general health conditions of the animals are far better than before.

To some extent this is true – inputs such as regular de-worming and vaccinations, first aid boxes, improved harnesses, hoof cleaners, health camps and educational workshops have had a visible impact. Recently three new staff have been recruited to intensify our support services and emergency shelters are being constructed in key brick factories.
However, we still occasionally come across abused and injured donkeys such as Shree Devi. Next time when we visit a brick kiln we hope to leave empty handed…

Lucia de Vries
Volunteer Director Animal Nepal