Skip to main content

Donkeys are victims of neglect, cruelty; wild ass is badly endangered

By Bharat Dogra

People who are sincere and hard-working, simple and quiet should be highly valued for these virtues, yet their simplicity and sincerity are often misused by others.
This can also be said about donkeys, who have much the same virtues and have suffered much the same fate. As they are less protected, in their case the mistreatment often extends to cruelty and worse.
There are over 40 million donkeys in the world, and they are among the least understood and the most mistreated creatures on our planet.
Human beings mistakenly refer to the most stupid members of their own species as donkeys. This is just not correct. In fact behavioral studies of donkeys have found them to be sincere, playful, patient and keen to learn.
Munshi Premchand, the famous writer from India, has captured well the virtues of a donkey—“We have never seen a donkey getting angry…He (she) is resolute and steadfast in situations of gain or loss, joy or distress, reflecting many of the virtues of wise sages. Despite this, if someone calls them stupid, then this is a clear case of disrespect for more important virtues.”
Another famous writer Krishan Chander wrote a series of novellas on the experiences of a wise and good-hearted donkey caught in the middle of the distortions of a very selfish and narrow-minded human world.
Such appreciation and understanding of donkeys is however quite rare among most human beings. What is worse, they often turn a blind eye to the mistreatment of donkeys, or even cruelty towards them. If it is cruelty towards cattle or even a dog, it may lead to intervention or even protest, but in the case of a donkey this may be just neglected.
Donkeys serve very well as pack or load animals. They are used to carry loads of sand or bricks or clothes or any other goods. While covering the Od community known for their special skills in construction of foundations and in quarrying work, I learnt about the important contribution made by their donkeys.
In the Thar desert while reporting on water scarcity, I saw villagers going in search of water with their donkeys carrying several empty cans. When a water source was found, the cans were filled with water and if the villager had to go further ahead, the donkey would sometimes return home with the water-load entirely on its own.
Despite the donkeys fulfilling such useful and trustworthy roles, they are often overloaded resulting in very painful journeys for them. If they stop for rest they are beaten. Sometimes they just collapse due to overburdened walking for a long time.
In fact, donkeys being docile are often a target for beating without there being much reason for this. So the owner when frustrated or angry for reasons having nothing to do with the donkey may yet turn to beating the poor animal.
As donkeys are considered a cheaper animal, they are often underfed and veterinary care for them is neglected too. When too old or weak to work to expected capacity, they may just be left to die.
Their meat is sometimes obtained in very cruel ways, being cut off some body parts for cooking and processing while the animal is still alive and can still feel the pain.
The non-domesticated or wild animal of this species is more frequently referred to as ass. The wild ass is badly threatened, in fact endangered, in several of its natural habitats (mostly in desert areas) in Africa, partly due to being hunted for meat and skin or certain body parts.
Hence there is an urgent need for at least some persons and organizations to take up the more specialized work of protecting donkeys/asses/mules and preventing cruelty to them. As this has been a much neglected work so far, there is scope for very useful to be done here.
My own concern for donkeys started when as an 11 years old school student I participated in an essay contest organized by the Society for Prevention of Cruelty Towards Animals. The participants were asked to write on an animal who needed compassion urgently and I chose to write on donkeys.
Once this essay won the coveted prize, I was asked time and again in school and by neighbors regarding what I wrote. Although my small essay had been written with all the seriousness a child could summon, as soon as I told others about the subject I had chosen they burst out laughing.
This is why before concluding I would like to repeat—Please take this plea on behalf of donkeys seriously. Over 4 million donkeys and asses really need more care and compassion.
---
The writer is Honorary Convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now. His recent books include 'Planet in Peril' and 'Man over Machine'

Comments

TRENDING

Cave of Spleen - a feminist perspective: Status of women in early 18th century England

The Cave of Spleen: Aubrey Beardsley's illustration for Pope's “The Rape of the Lock” By Pragya Ranjan  "The Rape of the Lock" by Alexander Pope published in 1712 is a mock-heroic narrative which satirically glorifies trivial incident of cutting of locks of protagonist Belinda. This poem was written in the Augustan Era (1660-1784) which is marked by the period of scientific reason and rationality, whose effect can be seen on the writers of those times. This timeline is particularly important to analyse the episode of the Cave of Spleen.

Sengol imbroglio suggests reason why Modi, BJP don't respect modern Indian history

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  The new parliament building opened on February 28. It looks it is not the Parliament but part of #Pratinidhisabhas ' started by earstwhile #princelystates in India. The #BJP for long has been acting as if India is a #Kingdom and Modi ji the new #King of India. Even at the coronations of Kings, you find a large number of people, and dignitaries but look at the opening ceremony we have only one face as if he build everything. Is it the dream of a republic.

Abrogation of Art 370: Increasing alienation, relentless repression, simmering conflict

One year after the abrogation by the Central Government of Art. 370 in Kashmir, what is the situation in the Valley. Have the promises of peace, normalcy and development been realised? What is the current status in the Valley? Here is a detailed note by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties , “Jammu & Kashmir: One Year after Abrogation of Art. 370: Increasing Alienation, Relentless Repression, Simmering Conflict”:

Release of dabang neta: Rule of law can't be allowed to be slave to political rhetoric

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  When we look to politicians for solutions and politics as the 'final solution' for every evil then we are disappointed most of the time. In politics, we knowingly or unknowingly become part of the propaganda tool of the ruling elite which exists everywhere across different castes. We often provide issues and talk about them in binaries which suit our elites. The minorities among the marginalised who have no political space and representation rarely get heard by these majoritarian parties whose agenda remain power communities. Every political party in today's time is following the 'successful' formula of 'democracy' which is keeping the 'powerful' 'jaatis' with them leaving aside the marginalised one. The BJP started this but yes they cobbled together all other communities too through a diverse narrative.

Discussion on making school education meaningful to vulnerable communities

ActionAid note on workshop to boost National Curriculum Framework operations: *** Leading educationists and activists striving to make education meaningful to vulnerable communities gathered in Delhi to discuss the National Curriculum Framework for School Education (NCFSE). Acting in response to the call of the NCF Steering Committee appointed by the Ministry of Education, Government of India, ActionAid Association had organised the meeting to gather feedback on the draft NCFSE. This is part of ActionAid Association’s commitment to promote inclusive and gender-responsive education. The two-day national workshop titled ‘NCF Perspectives: Seeking Feedback on National Curriculum Framework (NCF)’ on May 30 and 31, 2023, was held at India International Centre, New Delhi. The workshop aimed to ensure a structured approach to gathering feedback from key stakeholders and enhancing their active participation in shaping the response sought by the Government of India. Stakeholders representing e

Why are 17 Indian cos, including Sterlite, blacklisted by Norway bank

By Venkatesh Nayak* Readers may recall the gory incidents that took place at Thoothukudi (Tuticorin) in Tamil Nadu in the southern part of India on 22 May, 2018. Thirteen protesters died on the spot when the police opened fire to disperse an assemblage of thousands of local residents and representatives of civil society groups. They were protesting against the adverse environmental impact of the industrial operations of Sterlite Copper which runs a copper smelter plant in the area. Accusations against the company have ranged from polluting local water resources to plans for expanding the installed capacity of the plant without the necessary environmental clearances. A ground report published in The Wire recently, mentions the decision taken by Norges Bank a few years ago to not invest funds from Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) in Sterlite “due to an unacceptable risk of complicity in current and future severe environmental damage and systematic human rights violations

J&K RTI activist denied opportunity to address audience, bring forward critical issues

Statement by Er. Irfan Banka, Founder of J&K RTI Foundation and convener of the Nalae Ferozpora Bachav Movement, regarding the incident of official misconduct during the My Town My Pride Jan Abhiyan Program and communication to Raj Bhavan: *** Er. Irfan Banka, a prominent RTI Activist and advocate, has come forward to address an incident of misconduct that occurred during the My Town My Pride Jan Abhiyan Program held at Mugam Town Hall in  Budgam. Additionally, Er. Irfan Banka has communicated the matter to Raj Bhavan, seeking appropriate action. During the event, Er. Irfan Banka was denied the opportunity to address the audience and bring forward critical issues concerning the people and services in the community, including waste management, traffic management, and the achievement of sustainable development goals. The incident involved the Additional Registrar Co-operative Kashmir, who not only prevented Er. Irfan Banka from speaking but also subjected him to public humiliation. E

Danger ahead: Smartphones making teens sexually smart, but mentally disturbed

By Harasankar Adhikari  We live in a digitally globalised society. Bombarded consumerism and imitation of foreign cultures and practises reshape our everyday lives. Life choices and lifestyles are the driving forces of modernity at present. People of almost all ages are within this realm and rhythm of consumerism for happiness.

Big challenge for environment movement: How to link with justice, peace movements?

By Bharat Dogra  The biggest hope for resolving life-threatening environmental problems of our planet increasingly rests now not with the world-level political leadership, which has failed miserably in many critical contexts, but instead with those highly committed environmental activists who have many significant achievements to their credit despite working in the middle of many difficulties. Alas, even they too are often grim today instead of being enthused because of the rather overwhelming conditions of world which force environment protection to go two steps backward even when the activists and movements achieve the difficult task of moving one step ahead.

Worship practice of Hindu religion in official functions should be considered appropriate

By NS Venkataraman* The new Indian parliament building was inaugurated with much fanfare, pomp and show by Prime Minister Modi befitting the occasion. While the magnificent building with several technological features was built in just over two years , the style and structure of the building has been acclaimed by millions of people who saw the inaugural programme. Those who saw this programme in person or in visual media could not miss the fact that the installation of Sengol ( Sceptre) was the hall mark of this elegant programme . In India, historically, Sengol is considered to be the symbol of justice and good governance.