As Animal-Kind International continues to support Bam Animal Clinics, located in Iganga, Uganda, in their donkey welfare activities, here is an update from the field:
In March, Bam held training programs in the Sebei region (Bukwo, Kween, and Kapchorwa Districts) to show donkey owners how to make humane sisal saddles. Along with the training, Bam provided free veterinary care for donkeys.
This region has many donkeys, but if not for Bam's services, there would be no available vet care. In Kapchorwa District, the Kapchorwa District Veterinary Officer accompanied the team. DVOs, as government workers, don't have the funds, time, and resources they would need to provide hands-on care, and without outside assistance, can't even reach many of these remote areas.
While running a donkey clinic in Kibanda Parish, the Bam team saw this dog, Butcherman, named after a local prominent musician. Sadly, she lost the lower part of her left front limb to a snare placed by poachers to trap wild animals, mainly for bushmeat. At the least, she needed to be de-wormed (as evidence showed) and treated for fleas and ticks. The Bam team wasn't prepared to do spay surgery, but if funds allow, they hope to hold spay/neuter clinics along with their donkey welfare clinics in the future.
At the clinics, the Bam team spends a lot of time filing donkey hooves and explaining to donkey owners how important proper hoof care is. Donkeys have hooves that are between 5° and 10° more upright, smaller, tougher, a different shape, and more elastic than those of horses. Donkeys’ hooves grow differently than those of horses, and they should be trimmed every 6 to 10 weeks. Especially considering the heavy loads these donkeys are made to carry, and that foreign objects get lodged in their hooves, walking on overgrown hooves and hooves that aren't properly cared for can be very painful.
Always at Bam donkey clinics, owners bring donkeys that need extra attention. The Bam team treats them, and then Bam's local contacts continue with follow-on care. The local team is equipped with medicines and supplies and with a small stipend for time and transport-thanks to Animal-Kind International donors.
The donkey skin trade continues to be a big problem this area. Margaret lost four donkeys to thieves who came one night, slaughtered her donkeys, skinned them, and left everything but the skins behind. Her reports to authorities for help yielded nothing.
Donkeys are thought to be able to handle tough conditions and donkey owners consider them very resistant to diseases, so most people don't provide any special care for their donkeys, and when a donkey is sick, they expect the donkeys to recover on her own. This not only causes great suffering but also results in early and painful death. Bam Animal Clinics, in partnership with Animal-Kind International, is addressing these problems in the Districts of Kween , Bukwo, and Kapchorwa. Bam's trainings and clinics and the close follow-up by Bam's local contacts are helping to change attitudes and behaviors for long-term improvements.
Thank you to the Bam Animal Clinics-Uganda team!