OWNER BELIEF IN SENTIENCE LEADS TO BETTER DONKEY WELFARE IN A VERY CHALLENGING WORKING ENVIRONMENTS

Research output: Chapters, Conference Papers, Creative and Literary Works (RGC: 12, 32, 41, 45)32_Refereed conference paper (with host publication)peer-review

View graph of relations

Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUFAW Online Animal Welfare Conference 2023
Subtitle of host publicationScientific Programme
PublisherUniversities Federation for Animal Welfare
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2023

Conference

TitleUFAW Online Animal Welfare Conference 2023
LocationOnline
City
Period20 - 21 June 2023

Abstract

Working donkeys (Equus asinus) support human living standards globally. However, there is little information on the effect of human perceptions of sentience (ability to feel pain and to have positive and negative emotions) on their welfare. We interviewed donkey owners (n = 332) in Pakistan to determine the relationship between human perspectives of donkey emotions, the ability to feel pain, and working practices that could impact welfare. The majority of owners used padding under the saddle [n=211; 63.6%; 95% CI (58.0% - 69.0 %)] and provided access to food [n=213; 64.2%; 95% CI (59.0% – 69.0%)] and water (n=195; 58.7%; 95% CI (53.0% - 64.0%)] during the working day. Two-thirds of owners reported load-associated injuries during their donkey’s life (65.3% (95% CI 60.0% - 71.0%)), of which 27.7% (n=92; 95% CI 23.0% - 33.0%) were wounds, 20.5% (n=68; 95% CI 16.0% - 25.0%) were lameness, and 7.2% (n=24; 95% CI 4.0% - 10.0%) were back pain. In total, 81.3% (95% CI 77.0% - 86.0%; n=270) of owners believed that their donkeys felt pain, and 70% (95% CI 65.0% - 75.0%; n= 233) believed that their donkeys had emotions. We used Multiple correspondence analysis (MCA) to understand the relationship between owners’ recognition of emotions and pain in donkeys and how they worked with the animals. The MCA factor map revealed two clusters, named positive and negative ones. The positive cluster included owner’s recognition of donkey pain and emotions, the availability of food and water, use of padding under the saddle, the absence of injuries, and a reported willingness to follow potential loading guidelines. The negative cluster represented practices that did not benefit donkey welfare, such as using saddles without padding and a lack of food and water during work. The presence of injuries, owners not recognizing that donkeys feel pain and emotion along with a reported unwillingness to follow potential loading guidelines were also found in the negative cluster. We show that owners who recognized sentience in their donkeys were more likely to work in a manner that is good for welfare. The ability of owners to identify sentience, along with their willingness to follow guidelines, are very important factors for better donkey welfare even in very challenging working environments.

Citation Format(s)

OWNER BELIEF IN SENTIENCE LEADS TO BETTER DONKEY WELFARE IN A VERY CHALLENGING WORKING ENVIRONMENTS. / Bukhari, Syed Saad Ul Hassan; McElligott, Alan; Rosanowski, Sarah et al.
UFAW Online Animal Welfare Conference 2023: Scientific Programme. Universities Federation for Animal Welfare, 2023. T28.

Research output: Chapters, Conference Papers, Creative and Literary Works (RGC: 12, 32, 41, 45)32_Refereed conference paper (with host publication)peer-review