Donkey working in the Mezcal industry in Oaxaca, Mexico (The Donkey Sanctuary)
Working donkeys play a crucial role in supporting rural and impoverished communities across Mexico where they are often a family’s key source of income, according to recent research by international animal welfare charity, The Donkey Sanctuary.
However, these animals can suffer from welfare problems, such as open wounds or lameness and so the charity teamed up with the UK’s University of Portsmouth to assess the welfare of working donkeys, mules and horses in the Mexican states of Puebla, Queretaro and Veracruz.
The subsequent study found that in these rural, lower and middle-income Mexican communities, working animals labor in often harsh and challenging climates to provide a crucial, stable income for their owners.
More than 100 of the 120 equids assessed presented some type of skin alteration, comprising open wounds, scarring and swellings. Others showed visual signs of lameness and overgrown or cracked hooves.
More than 60% of the equids assessed were used as riding or pack animals, while a small proportion was involved with agroforestry, which combines farming and forestry.
Overall, the equids were found to suffer from welfare problems associated with the local economic and climatic conditions. Mules worked the longest hours and the most days compared to other equids – up to nine hours per day and sometimes seven days a week. Most of those assessed had limited access to shade or water during work periods in both dry and humid conditions.
Dr Faith Burden, Executive Director or Equine Operations at The Donkey Sanctuary said:
“This research was really important because it has helped us to understand the welfare problems faced by working equids in this part of the world.
Read the rest at Charity Today
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