Challenging the myths behind harmful practices
A picture can paint a thousand words…or can it? What do you think when you see this photo of a donkey with half its ear chopped off? Cruelty? Neglect?
Millions of horses and donkeys toil in some of the world’s toughest environments across the developing world enabling poor families to make a living. But when animals become sick or injured, traditional practices such as ear mutilation or firing are used in the desperate belief the animal will be cured.
The result is needless pain, disfigurement and even death in some cases.
How the Brooke is helping
Now the Brooke has released an audio slideshow to show how they are challenging the use of harmful practices across the 11 countries where the charity works.
In the slideshow, Dr Mohite, a Brooke Veterinary Officer, visits Ram Nagar, a poor area in eastern Delhi, India. He comments: “The Brooke has worked in Ram Nagar for the last two years – when we first started work here there were lots of mutilation cases in this area. The most common practices here are firing and blistering to cure lameness, ear cutting and nostril slitting. Traditional and mythical practices are passed on through the generations.”
Why do people use these practices?
There are many traditional practices used across the developing world. Ear mutilation is believed to guard against ear infections or ward off evil spirits, and firing is used in the belief it will stimulate tendon repair and speed up healing. Pouring battery acid onto a wound to keep flies away in the belief it will help the healing process is also common.
“The Brooke provides treatment for the donkeys and educates the owners, explaining why they shouldn’t use harmful practices to cure health problems. If owners understand that the treatments they are using are harmful, we can hopefully bring an end to these practices”, adds Dr Mohite.
Despite the pain they cause, owners who turn to traditional treatments aren’t being cruel, they are simply trying to help their ailing animal and save their livelihoods. In remote communities there is little access to animal health education and veterinary treatment