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  • Writer's pictureAnimal-Kind International

Bam Animal Clinics-Uganda: August Donkey Clinics

The Bam Animal Clinics' team traveled from Iganga to the Eastern Districts of Namisindwa, Bududa, and Manafa to hold donkey clinics and humane saddle making workshops. Their 1st stop was in Namisindwa, where the region's highest concentration of donkeys is found.

There, the Bam Animal Clinics' team met the Veterinary Department, local leadership, and the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO, pronounced COW--in a respectful way) of Namisindwa District with the aim of cooperating to improve animal welfare in the District. From now on, Namonyo Nicholas will be Bam's contact person in the District, but while holding donkey clinics and workshops for donkey owners, Bam will work with many other local vets and assistants, as well.

veterinary team
The Bam team with Namisindwa leaders, who confirmed their interest in and support of improving animal welfare, in coordination with the Bam team.

Bam planned to hold trainings for donkey owners in humane saddle making and good donkey care in the six sub-counties in Namisindwa District. They also planned to host donkey clinics to treat donkeys for a variety of issues at no cost to their owners.

Some of the trainees and local team members

While in Namisindwa District, Bunkokho subcounty, the Bam team found the condition of the donkeys very concerning. Most of the donkeys they saw were overworked and under-rested. The donkeys arrived at Bam's community clinics with wounds from carrying heavy loads with poorly made saddles for protection. Some owners use no saddles at all. Most of the donkeys had wounds at the base of their tails and on their backs.

donkey clinic
Treating a wound at the base of the donkey's tail, indicative of using a poor quality saddle when carrying a heavy load

Most donkeys also had severe wounds on their backs. These are a result of carrying heavy, often poorly balanced loads using no saddle for protection or sometimes a poor quality saddle. Imagine the pain when these wounds aren't treated and the donkey is forced to keep carrying more heavy loads without adequate protection.

donkeys with wounds on their backs
Most donkeys at the Bam donkey clinic had bad wounds on their backs from carrying heavy, poorly balanced loads without adequate protection

donkey with a back wound
Without treatment, wounds on the back get infected and become even more painful.

At each location, the Bam team demonstrates humane sisal saddle making and then guides donkey owners in making their own saddles, which the owners can keep to use on their donkeys.

humane saddle making for donkeys
Learning to make humane saddles using sisal sacks, cheaply and easily obtained material

A good saddle must have soft comfortable materials that do not cause harm to the donkey. Sisal saddles require minimal care and are easily repaired or replaced.

donkeys grazing and a humane saddle
All donkey owners learn to make humane saddles and to properly fit and load their donkeys.

It was a rainy day in Namisindwa District, Bunkokho subcounty, when the Bam team came across this group of donkeys (below) being taken for work. Their backs were riddled with wounds, some fresh, others were old wounds. It seemed that the wounds weren't only from heavy, unbalanced loads and poor saddle use, but also from beatings. The team also noted that the donkeys were not well fed, a common problem in eastern Uganda. Often donkeys aren't given enough time to rest and feed and their forage isn't nutritious or enough for the work they're required to undertake.

donkeys going to work
The Bam team came across these donkeys on their way to work, and encouraged the people who were with them to join a no-cost workshop to learn how to better care for their donkeys.

Bam will continue to work in these districts and will expand their reach as more funding becomes available. Ongoing training that reinforces good practices is needed to actually see long lasting changes in the way donkeys are treated. We thank our Animal-Kind International supporters for helping Bam Animal Clinics improve the lives of Uganda's donkeys.

donkey with humane saddle
A comfortable, humane saddle made out of sisal sacks and a happy donkey


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