Danger for donkeys

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Looks at the challenges faced by donkeys and their handlers so that they may be used safely and efficiently, mostly in transport. Causes of damage are examined, and solutions offered.

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  • Danger for donkeys

    1. 1. CAUSES OF DAMAGE TO DONKEYS ARISING FROM THEIR WORK AND HOW THEY ARE MANAGED ! DANGER FOR DONKEYS
    2. 2. PARTICULAR AREAS OF CONCERN ARE - wheeled vehicles general hitching for traction erroneous beliefs
    3. 3. ! DANGER FOR DONKEYS ! DIFFICULT TO STOP FORWARD MOVEMENT OF CART
    4. 4. IF THERE ARE WHEELS, NO MATTER HOW MANY: Pulling animals must have some way of stopping the forward movement of the vehicle, even if it has brakes, by means of a breech strap Or, going downhill, the vehicle could run into the back of the animal.
    5. 5. Generally,this is absent A spare tyre, but no brakes ...
    6. 6. ! DANGER FOR DONKEYS ! CART TILTS BALANCE OF LOAD ONTO (OR OFF) DONKEYS
    7. 7. TWO-WHEEL CARTS PRESENT THE MOST PROBLEMS. HITCHING METHODS MUST TAKE CARE OF: Balance of weight over wheels; Placement of weight on animal;
    8. 8. WE ALL KNOW THIS ONE - Load too far back can be pretty obvious. But what about load too far forward ?
    9. 9. BECAUSE LOADING IS ALWAYS DONE AFTER ANIMALS ARE HITCHED
    10. 10. The shaft (disselboom) of a cart acts as a lever, so that the weight is greatest at its end. SO HOW IS THIS WEIGHT PUT ON THE ANIMAL/S ?
    11. 11. ! DANGER FOR DONKEYS ! VERTICAL WEIGHT OF UNBALANCED CART TRANSFERRED TO NECKS (NOT WITHERS) AND ENHANCED BY LEVER EFFECT
    12. 12. A simple solution is to use TWO common breastband harnesses, front and back. HOWEVER: hitching and adjustment must make sure that any pressures are felt by the donkey in the right place. (NOTE that an animal pushes on a harness to pull what is behind.)
    13. 13. FOR HORSES, a neckstrap has generally been used, to put the weight on the animal’s withers.
    14. 14. AND IF DONKEYS ARE REGARDED AS ‘SMALL HORSES’, this is what gets recommended and universally used
    15. 15. BUT HORSES AND DONKEYS HAVE DIFFERENT SHAPES. Especially look at angle of neck and back related to withers. (Top of scapula corresponds to withers. This diagram puts horse & donkey scapula in same place.)
    16. 16. PRETTY EASY TO CHECK WHERE THE WEIGHT HAS LANDED: Just put a hand under each strap. Usually the neckstrap is found to take it Should be over pelvis NOT in middle of back ! Some can be here !
    17. 17. ! DANGER FOR DONKEYS ! DONKEYS SHOULD CAN CHOKE OR BE WOUNDED WHEN PULLING A CART
    18. 18. WHERE BALANCE IS NOT INVOLVED, But PULLING (i.e. pushing on a harness) The variable felt by a pulling animal is resistance, e.g. with WAGONS: loadweight felt by animals only on gradients, otherwise wheel bearings determine the amount of resistance. SLEDS & POLES: roughness of surface. PLOUGHS: make of implement, soil texture, depth of cut.
    19. 19. BUT MORE CAN HAPPEN IF A NECKSTRAP IS USED. INSTEAD OF PUSHING ON A HARNESS TO PULL THE CART, THE DONKEY OFTEN ENDS UP PUSHING ON THE TRANSVERSE POLE There are mechanical reasons for what can often be observed. In addition, if the load on the cart lifts the disselboom, the transverse pole will also be lifted, sometimes to just under the donkey’s jaw.
    20. 20. As with these onesNote loose traces
    21. 21. Even a yoke (bad enough) might be better, as long enough pegs could be pushed by donkey shoulder joint, as with a collar harness
    22. 22. Or the ‘hame harness’ developed at Fort Hare as being particularly suitable for donkeys. HOWEVER, very tricky to make, adjust and get right, so not recommended.
    23. 23. In South Africa and Zimbabwe, the single- shaft cart is the most common. As it requires more than one animal to pull it, the distribution of forces between the animals needs to be considered.
    24. 24. ! DANGER FOR DONKEYS ! DONKEYS CAN WORK AGAINST EACH OTHER WHEN PULLING AND TURNING A CART
    25. 25. SHARING THE PULLING AS WELL AS THE LOAD REDUCES EFFICIENCY But especially if it is done wrongly Crowding makes movement difficult for the animals.
    26. 26. BUT IT NEED NOT BE SO !
    27. 27. SOLUTIONS NEED NOT INVOLVE NEW TECHNOLOGIES OR UNFAMILIAR TECHNIQUES
    28. 28. Some loss of efficiency is always involved, but tandem is easier and safer for animals, and easier for humans to manage. Weight of unbalanced cart, however, can only be taken by those animals directly in front of the cart.
    29. 29. One animal between two shafts is much more efficient, especially if hitching is improved. And additions are easy
    30. 30. There is also TURNING to be considered. Again, there is no sense in making it difficult for animals and reducing their efficiency. This is why swingles and eveners should always be used. Animals should not exercise torque through the cart itself, but through a swivel point.
    31. 31. ! DANGER FOR DONKEYS ! Thus many hitching problems for donkeys have their origins in: VEHICLE DESIGN (especially carts) IGNORING THEIR DIFFERENCE from horses and/or oxen (thus management)
    32. 32. Also a management issue, HARNESSING plays a minor role, but can give problems of its own through: Poor fit Poor construction Poor materials.
    33. 33. POOR FIT can result in: Pressure on the wrong place Material moves against skin, not with it. SO adjustability is essential. !
    34. 34. POOR CONSTRUCTION So that: ! Angles and levels change too much in use. Twisting at joins. Non-adjustable to individual donkeys. Two backstraps seem to help, also rings used at ‘right angle’ joins so that angle can adjust and the straps can lie flat.
    35. 35. POOR MATERIALS So that: ! Edges cut flesh. Do not stretch with skin and muscle, but against them. Do not absorb sweat and other moisture Breastband folds into narrow cutting rope
    36. 36. ALSO - because donkeys are seen as ‘small (& inferior) horses’ BRIDLES AND BITS have become widely adopted Although not really needed by donkeys, who respond better to voice and gesture. In West Africa, such things are rarely seen. !
    37. 37. Aside from being unnecessary, bits are difficult for poor people to acquire, and eventually they break. So they are mended and contrived with WIRE or CHAIN It also seems to be widely believed that bits are not so much for guiding the animal but for helping the driver to remain stable on the vehicle, holding and pulling as tightly as possible. So wounding easily results. BLINKERS are not only unnecessary on donkeys, but are often uselessly placed. Besides, donkeys may need to see hazards to the sides. They will respond appropriately. !
    38. 38. OTHER MANAGEMENT PROBLEMS: Identification Parasite treatments Continuing use when injured or wounded. Expense of veterinary treatment and remedies. Freedom from fences, especially at night. Angry neighbours, who make animals suffer in place of owners.
    39. 39. IDENTIFICATION This is important to owners in areas of high incidence of donkey theft – thieves sell in a market where questions are not asked because the value of the animal is so low. TRADITIONAL STRATEGIES ARE – Branding Nicking or cropping of ears This can eventually result in very little ear remaining.
    40. 40. PARASITE TREATMENTS Where cattle densities are high, ticks are more of a problem, and where donkey densities high, worms are. People often know of these problems, but do not know how to deal with them in donkeys. Donkeys may get dipped with cattle. Some examples of TRADITIONAL STRATEGIES : Ticks: - cut ears - powder from batteries - used motor oil Worms: - infusion of aloe and potassium permanganate - veterinary not suitable for equids (And I have lists of ‘traditional remedies’ for all sorts of things, many of which seem to use cow dung.) !
    41. 41. ! DANGER FOR DONKEYS ! THE TERRIBLE MYTHS THAT HAVE ARISEN CONCERNING DONKEYS In South Africa, historical research has uncovered the fact that it is often cattle-owners who are responsible for these, not wanting the grazing competition that they imagine donkeys pose.
    42. 42. A CATEGORIZATION OF THE BELIEFS Donkeys and people: Donkeys kick and bite, they are dangerous: they tend to kick people to death. Donkeys are disease-ridden: they can infect the people who handle them. Donkeys are inedible, except by lions, so they attract lions, which will then also eat people. Donkeys smell bad. Farmers want cattle not donkeys; donkeys are only for the lowest orders of society. Donkeys have no owners or names. Donkeys are non-productive; they are expendable. Donkeys cause road accidents. Donkeys are stupid and stubborn. Donkeys won’t work in the rain . Donkeys need shoes on their feet. Donkeys and environments: Donkey manure is poisonous to plants. Donkey urine burns the soil . Donkeys destroy trees and the environment generally , causing erosion. Donkeys tear grass out of the ground . Donkeys graze 24 hours out of 24 and thus consume more than cattle. Donkeys and other animals: Donkeys poison the ground and kill pastures. Donkeys eat more than cattle. Donkeys eat more than goats do . Particularly feral donkey impair subsistence goat keeping. Donkeys waste fodder . Donkey have a higher impact on the remaining vegetation . There are too many donkeys. But also: Donkeys never get sick.. Donkeys never die NONE OF THE STATEMENTS BELOW HAVE ANY BASIS IN FACT AND ARE NOT SUPPORTED BY RESEARCH OF ANY KIND.
    43. 43. THANK YOU ! AND PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTACT ME (PREFERABLY BY E-MAIL) ANY TIME, AND EVEN BETTER IF YOU CAN VISIT.

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