The Nowzad working animal programme, as we announced in our last newsletter, is now operating across Kabul. Our head of programme, Dr Reshad is out on the ground twice per week to intercept working donkeys and horses as they toil in what is becoming a very hot start to the summer.
As you all well know a working animal, be it a donkey or horse, is overworked and most often than not, mistreated whilst being forced to work in all weathers and all conditions. They are the most abused animals in the world today.
At least for the donkeys and horses of Kabul, Nowzad is on a mission to tackle this issue.
With a strict record keeping policy that he adheres to, each donkey or horse is tagged so that we can validate progress and ensure the owner is carrying out any remedial treatment as directed by Dr Reshad.
Sadly, the injuries that Dr Reshad has come across have been at times, horrific. A lack of education from the owners whilst being completely uncompassionate to the animals’ needs is to blame.
Dr Reshad and our team here are determined to address this lack of empathy and appreciation for these overworked and abused animals and your continued support allows us to do that.
Dr Reshad travels into the Nowzad clinic for 8am to collect the supplies he needs for the working animal project day ahead. With only one driver and vehicle at Nowzad we have little choice but to send him off by taxi to the area that has been selected for the day. Kabul is divided into many Police districts which has made it easy for us to target specifics areas tagging the treated donkeys or horses as we go along.
On the two occasions per week that Dr Reshad is on the ground; the first day is normally treating animals’ unseen before and the second day is often revisiting treated animals from the week before, checking on their progress and evaluating the care given by the ‘owner’.
Dr Reshad gives advice and ‘tips’ for the care of the working animals and this has included detailed instructions for proving shelter and care for these animals when not being forced to work.
We are truly happy to report that thankfully owners have been responding to this line of advice and direction as sadly we have now had to treat so many injuries that have been caused by human abuse. Particularly to the hind quarters of the donkeys where they have been hit with a stick in an attempt to make the poor animal work harder.
A note from Pen; ‘seeing this makes my blood boil and I have no issues saying what I truly wanted to do; yet Dr Reshad and the team are right. Immediate treatment for the donkey and education of the owner is the only course of action – the working abuse of donkeys and horses will not magically stop overnight so we must prevent this happening to the future generations of working donkeys. And education not anger is fundamental to achieving that’.
We also see a variety of injuries caused from poorly fitting saddles, hoof neglect and from eating plastic. Most donkeys are left to wander freely in the evenings from rubbish pile to rubbish pile. Here in Kabul food waste and plastic go hand in hand.
During his donkey work Dr Reshad came across a very sick cow only days ago. An operation was immediately required carried out in less than sterile conditions. Over 20kg, yes you read that right… 20kg of plastic was removed from its intestine.
The cow has made a full recovery and the owner educated on what to actually feed it.
Whilst vaccinating donkeys high on one of the mountain passes that overlooks the hustle and bustle of downtown Kabul, Dr Reshad noticed an older donkey wandering alone visibly dehydrated and lethargic.
Several attempts to locate an owner failed (thankfully) and our trusted truck was summoned to have the donkey transported to the safety of the Nowzad donkey sanctuary for immediate care.
A newlywed couple; Kate and Tom, reached out to us to let us know they had asked for donations to Nowzad instead of wedding presents but wanted to know if we could name our next stray dog after the husband; Tom.
Well, as Tom is currently serving in the British Army and we assumed he had a sense of humour… we asked Kate if she would be happy if we named our new rescued donkey after her husband…. Thankfully she said ‘yes’!
As long as donations continue then we will be there for these poor mistreated and abused animals who have only you as their voice. With the continued issues around coronavirus our office is only being manned part time and we are still slightly under staffed. Therefore, we will commence the donkey sponsor programme from October but for now please do donate if you are able to do so!
Dr Reshad say; ‘We are the voice of the donkeys as they cannot speak. We have been working for several months now on our dedicated programme for donkeys and their owners. We have been able to save at least five donkeys’ lives who were in a really bad situation and they would have died without our programme'.