Bam Back in the Saddle (donkey welfare in eastern Uganda)
AKI Partner, Bam Animal Clinics-Uganda, held donkey clinics and humane saddle trainings in early June in Bukwo, Kapchorwa, and Kween Districts. This post describes some of their work, supported by AKI donors, helping donkeys and a cow.
On June 2, Bam met with donkey keepers in Moyok Subcounty in Kween District (picture below) to let them know of the free veterinary services to be provided and that Bam would be holding a free training program to teach donkey keepers how to make humane sisal saddles. The sisal saddles are easy to make, cost very little, and they greatly reduce pain and injuries when donkeys are transporting heavy loads.
On the way to one of the trainings in Kween District, Bam met a herder and took the opportunity to talk to him about the donkeys he watches over (picture below). Just as with most locals, he enjoyed talking about the good work these animals do to improve human livelihoods. It turns out this herd was owned by only one man who hires them out to whomever would like to use the donkeys. These donkeys earn the owner a lot of money. Bam was a bit concerned about the welfare of the donkeys; of course, when donkeys -like anything-are rented out, they are more open to abuse by renters as well as the owner. Bam will be watching this situation to make sure the donkeys are not over-worked and harmed and that they receive the necessary care.
One of the sisal saddle trainings was held in Mayok Subcounty (2 pictures below). In addition to teaching people to make and use these humane saddles, Bam takes the opportunity to train donkey keepers about animal health. That way, even when Bam vets aren't available, the donkey keepers can provide basic care. Every participant in the training receives a sisal sack and keeps the humane saddle they make--free of charge.
The word was getting out quickly about Bam's services, and Bam expected hundreds of animals to be brought to the next community vet clinics.
And they were right! Every stop the Bam Animal Clinics team made, there were hundreds of donkeys with their owners/keepers hoping to have their donkeys checked and treated (picture below). The team visited Bukwo, Kween, and Kapchorwa to provide routine veterinary care.
But sometimes the care was more than routine. Some of the donkeys required surgery, like this donkey with scrotal injuries (picture below). Bam vets performed open castration.
And in this case (2 pictures below), the Bam team was presented with a non-routine animal (a cow) and non-routine vet care (the cow needed a cesarean). This happened in Kapchorwa, when the Bam team came across some locals trying to help a cow deliver her calf. Luckily Bam showed up: the team performed the ceserean section, the calf was delivered, mama and baby were fine, and the local people were happy for the work well done!
All these service are performed at no-cost to donkey owners and are funded by AKI donors-THANK YOU!