In the remote town of Geita in northwestern Tanzania, donkeys are used to haul heavy, backbreaking weights in an archaic method of gold mining, causing severe and unnecessary suffering to these gentle creatures.
The ghastly truth is that for every ounce of gold mined in this dusty African region, donkeys are hauling countless TONS of discarded brick and rubble in excruciatingly inhumane conditions.
The animals are forced to work from sunrise in scorching heat, receiving no food, water or rest, under the weight of sacks that must be lifted onto their backs by several people at a time. Even worse, some donkeys have these heavy sacks slung over their necks - the weakest part of their bodies and almost guaranteed to cause them agonizing, lifelong injury. They must then repeatedly struggle up and down steep, uneven embankments under these crushing weights until finally, after an entire day of work, they are left to find their own food and water, and a place to rest overnight.
The following day, they are gathered up and forced to do it all over again.
Donkeys staggering under the weight of rocky gold mining waste endure hours of back-breaking work. Their open, weeping wounds are infested with flies. We MUST help them, and we have a plan to do it - but we need YOUR help to put it into action.
Our team witnessed shocking abuse of donkeys first-hand during a recent site visit with our partner, the Arusha Society for the Protection of Animals (ASPA). ASPA had begged us for help: it was deeply concerned for the welfare of the animals, who receive no medical treatment when they are sick or rest when they are injured.
We saw donkeys – including some juveniles far too young to work - being forced up and down the steep embankments with heavy weights. The NFA team struggled up these hills, and we weren’t carrying a single ounce of weight on our backs!
Just imagine how these tragic donkeys must feel, carrying hundreds of pounds/kilograms on their aching backs, over and over again, under the blazing African sun. They looked like they were begging us to help them, their spirits broken, their eyes downcast. We found one donkey cowering behind a rock, having found a way to ‘hide’ from the unending abuse - if only for a few moments. The sight of this broken animal brought us all to tears.
We cannot turn our backs on these poor creatures. Watching them stoically suffering all day long carrying cruel loads of gold mining waste is something you see once and can never forget. Our immediate priorities are to get them proper saddlebags, hopefully putting to end the awful wounds on their skin, and to get a mobile clinic working to take them medical care. We will also work closely with local authorities to educate donkey owners about how to handle their animals with care, and to teach them that donkeys, like us, feel pain and hurt.
Right now, the donkeys are relentlessly overloaded and overworked, with no care or concern for their wellbeing. This is why we must help the donkeys, and we must do it FAST.
Will you help them by donating right now?
Your donation today will help and ease their suffering - and this is how.
Rural people use donkeys as a means of transport because of the poor economy and difficult terrain. The locals can barely afford to look after themselves, let alone their donkeys. There is no one else to help these animals but us.
With your help, we will provide smaller saddlebags for the donkeys so they cannot be overloaded, and a monthly clinic, run by the ASPA team, to treat any injuries and relieve their pain. We will also work closely with local people to teach them to treat their animals with kindness and care.
The local authorities, who met with the NFA team during our visit, will penalize donkey owners not using the correct saddlebags or abusing their animals in any way. Miners cannot afford to be financially penalized or to have their donkeys confiscated - compelling reasons for them to abide by these rules.
If we can raise $10,000 (£8,630), we can get a mobile clinic working as soon as next month. The longer we wait, the more the donkeys suffer, and as animal lovers, we simply cannot allow this to go on.
Please, if your heart breaks for these animals - as ours do - help us help them. They need it so badly, and there is simply no one else.
For the animals,
Brian and Gloria Davies (and Max and Flora!)
Network for Animals
P.S. In impoverished countries like Tanzania, people will always use donkeys to eke out a living - it isn’t something we can stop overnight. What we can do - and MUST DO - is help these poor animals forced into brutal labor. We can make sure their wounds are treated, their loads lightened and their lives made a little more tolerable each day. As animal lovers, the least we can give them is this kindness, and it is exactly what you will give them with your donation today.