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  • Writer's pictureAnimal-Kind International

Donkeys in Tanzania Need our Help!

AKI supports Tanzania Animal Welfare Society’s Donkey Welfare Programme in the rural central areas in Mpwapwa district in Dodoma, Tanzania. Donors to AKI support TAWESO’s donkey clinics, including transport of TAWESO staff and other volunteers to clinic sites, meds, materials (humane harnesses), humane ed material on donkey care, and refreshments for clinic workers. But a new issue is looming and we are ready to support TAWESO's efforts to address it!

So much cruelty happens in the "dark"--there's no one present to witness and report it. But because TAWESO has been spending more and more time in Mpwapwa district, they’ve noticed a relatively new problem. Thanks to TAWESO, we now know about-and can act on our knowledge of-this new cruelty facing donkeys: the donkey meat and skin trade.

Donkeys being transported as part of the meat and skin trade

A large Chinese-owned donkey abattoir is now operating in central Tanzania and donkeys are being transported from all over the country to the abattoir. TAWESO has witnessed horrible welfare problems during transport and has found many donkeys are arriving injured or dead due to long transport times without food or water.

Then, once they arrive at the abattoir holding point they suffer from hunger and thirst--worse now because it's the dry period in Tanzania (2 pictures below).

Donkey arrives at the holding facility prior to slaughter

Donkey at holding facility -suffering from hunger and thirst after long hours in a truck

TAWESO has found that about 8 donkeys die every week just while waiting for slaughter! And these are the donkeys that TAWESO is able to count, which wouldn't include donkeys who die along the transit route and may be discarded (or sold) along the way.

It gets worse: many thefts of donkeys are reported during the night. The donkeys are dragged to the bush, where they are killed and skinned. There's a belief that the skins have more value than the meat when they are transported to China to make traditional Chinese medicines.

What’s TAWESO doing about this?

TAWESO treats an donkey's injured ear

TAWESO is working on this issue from top-down and from bottom-up. They are educating stakeholders (district veterinary officers and other government staff and donkey owners) to empower them to address the transport and slaughter issues, as well as the thefts of donkeys. TAWESO is also providing veterinary care (picture above), food, and water to the affected donkeys.

TAWESO will also be speaking to and encouraging government officials/decision makers to take action against poor transport and slaughter practices, including implementing humane measures at the abattoir.

TAWESO not only provides direct care to donkeys affected by the skin and meat trade, they also continue to hold donkey welfare clinics; as part of their humane education programme, they teach students about donkeys (with the aim of encouraging compassion for all animals); they participate in events, where they showcase TAWESO activities (including donkey welfare activities); and they teach donkey owners how to make and use humane harnesses and how to provide for their donkey’s basic needs. (See pictures below of these donkey welfare programme activities and check out the AKI youtube channel for a short video of TAWESO teaching donkey owners to use the humane harness,

TAWESO Donkey Welfare Clinic

Dr. Thomas checking loading and harnessing

Donkey Welfare Clinic

Donkey Welfare Clinic: providing vet care and training on proper care of working donkeys

TAWESO at an event showcasing their donkey welfare efforts

TAWESO discussing donkey welfare at an event

TAWESO's Humane Education Programme shows students how to use a humane harness (children are often the animal caretakers of the family)

TAWESO's Humane Education Programme aims to increase compassion for all animals

TAWESO is also planning to open a small clinic at their office in Mpwapwa, where they will be able to help animals brought there--dogs, cats, donkeys, goats, etc. They plan to start by holding clinics once a week and depending on funding, may increase (Pet and livestock owners in rural Tanzania don't have the money to pay for vet care. In this region, TAWESO will offer the only privately operated-non governmental-vet services). TAWESO hopes that they'll be able to help many more animals in this rural area once they have a more permanent veterinary presence.

TAWESO Vet Outreach Clinic

Horrible tick infestation-pet owners in rural Mpwawa region have had to rely on TAWESO's intermittent vet clinics

TAWESO Vet Clinics-once TAWESO has a more permanent presence, the demand should level off

TAWESO Vet Clinic

Thanks to our AKI donors (including one donor who is providing all the funding for a 2-3 day clinic!), we're able to continue supporting TAWESO’s Donkey Welfare Programme (as our top priority for TAWESO funding), including addressing this new threat of the skin and meat trade, as well as helping TAWESO with other priority needs.

TAWESO Programmes are:

  • Donkey Welfare

  • Dog and Cat Population Control

  • Veterinary Outreach

  • Humane Education in Primary Schools and Communities

  • Welfare of Farm Animals in Markets and in Transport

  • Animal Shelter

  • Policy and Advocacy

We so appreciate your support-TAWESO can't do all this without help from outside Tanzania. To donate to AKI and designate TAWESO, go to the Support AKI menu/Donate on the AKI website.

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