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Despite being such a vital working asset, donkeys are not highly valued within their own communities.

Beitbridge Donkey Health and Welfare Centre: building community networks

VAWZ and World Horse Welfare entered into a combined project based in the Beitbridge area aimed at the sustainable improvement of donkey welfare through encouraging owners to address donkey-related issues in the context in which they live and work, using a community approach and ensuring a reduced reliance on free services provided by other organizations.

Donkey welfare is part of a larger livelihoods system and a more holistic approach is required. For this reason, the project is in collaboration with World Horse Welfare to promote and improve awareness of the role of the donkey in livelihood systems.

Donkeys are used by communities in the area for transport and draught power; however, many of these donkeys have low welfare conditions due in part to poor nutrition, management and handling practices, as well as abandonment and road traffic accidents. Despite being such a vital asset, donkeys are not highly valued, and as such there is a lack of awareness of how best to take care of them, and a lack of commitment to treating them in a welfare-friendly manner.

An office has been set up in the Veterinary Department grounds and a full time veterinarian has been employed to run the project.

 

Beitbridge WHW/VAWZ Donkey Project

World Horse Welfare and Veterinarians for Animal Welfare Zimbabwe (VAWZ) continue to work together to promote the sustainable improvement of working equine (donkey) welfare in the Beitbridge area of Zimbabwe.

Donkey owners are encouraged to address equine-related issues in the context in which they live and work, using a community approach and ensuring a reduced reliance on free services provided by other organisations. The project partners signed a Memorandum of Understanding with World Vision to jointly promote and improve awareness of the role of donkeys in livelihood systems by working directly with communities to improve rural livelihood security by providing households reliant on donkeys with better knowledge, skills and services regarding donkey health, welfare and husbandry.

Working donkeys are used by communities in the Beitbridge region for transport of people, water and goods, and for draught work. Many of these donkeys have low welfare conditions due to a complexity of issues, including poor nutrition, management and handling practices, as well as abandonment and road traffic accidents. Despite being such a vital asset, donkeys are not valued highly and as such, there is a lack of awareness of how best to take care of them and a lack of commitment to treating them in a welfare friendly manner.

A three-day follow-up Donkey Welfare Workshop was held in February 2019, attended by the same twelve Department of Veterinary Services personnel as were at the introductory workshop held in late 2018. 'Veterinary Packs' were handed over and the attendees encouraged to hold their own donkey clinics within the four provinces they represented. This proved to be very successful and a number of well attended clinics have been held, further promoting good donkey health and welfare practices.


World Horse Welfare is a charity that works to improve the lives of horses and the horse-human partnership in all of its guises. Our mission is to work with horses, horse owners, communities, organisations and governments to improve welfare standards and stamp out suffering in the UK and worldwide. Our vision is a world where every horse is treated with respect, compassion and understanding.
Click here to visit World Horse Welfare.


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