May 8th, 2017 was a very special day for BHA all over its operational locations in Egypt where World Donkey Day celebrations were held for the first time in Egypt with much enthusiasm and love. BHA field teams organized several educational and awareness activities with the donkey owners/users with the aim of highlighting the donkeys’ priceless worth as the main work partners of thousands of poor families who, nevertheless, seldom have the knowledge or the resources to ensure donkeys lead healthy lives.
The celebrations included various activities such as providing quality veterinary services “direct relief pain and suffering” for 600 poor donkeys and awareness-raising sessions for the owners/users about best animal welfare practices; including: the implications of using metal nose chains on donkey health and the problem of donkeys’ hooves that require regular care and cleaning to stay healthy and sound. The BHA teams distributed 450 nose bands and hoof picks on the donkeys’ owners/users to minimize harms.
The eye problems were also emphasized and the field teams provided net faces to keep the flies away from donkeys’ eyes. The teams also underlined the importance of providing adequate clean, fresh water in clean watering troughs every day to improve the donkey's health and protect it from heat stress especially in summer time.
All key welfare issues have been linked with the donkey productivity and the sustainability of owner’s income: “A healthy donkey means sustained livelihoods”
A saddle care day was organized with the help and support of animal welfare committee group at El Manisha, Aswan, and Edfu clinics where Brooke Saddlers trained the donkey owners on how to maintain their donkey harness and cover metal nose chains with soft tissue.
Moreover, some rural women guides organized a puppet show for children to introduce welfare concepts especially the implication of beating on donkey health.
“A best donkey competition” was held in Mansoura and Matrouh. The awards were based on the donkey’s welfare.
Brooke donkey welfare activities focus on improving the donkey profile at community level and mobilize owners /users to look after their donkeys and seduce the decision makers and officials to take enact legislation and decisions that protect these weak creatures and relieve their sufferings.
In Egypt, there are approximately 1.450,000 million working donkeys, assisting poor families as their means of transportation and source of income. It is estimated that up to 5- 6 people can be dependent on one working equine. As pack animals, donkeys are reliable and strong, they are suitable for pulling carts carrying green fodders, fertilizers, sugar cane crop, etc. Also in urban areas donkeys are used in carrying building material, in brick kilns and mobile shops. They are cheaper than horses and they survive under very difficult circumstance with minimum husbandry requirements.