Welfare concerns with mounted load carrying by working donkeys

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 publicationISAE 2022 - Proceedings of the 55th Congress of the ISAE
Subtitle of host publicationAnimal Behaviour and Beyond
EditorsMiroslav Kjosevski, Susanne Waiblinger, Vlatko Ilieski
PublisherMVI ILGEN – Educational center “Sireda”
Pages192
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022

Conference

Title55th Congress of the International Society of Applied Ethology (ISAE 2022)
LocationHotel Metropol
PlaceMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of
CityOhrid
Period4 - 8 September 2022

Abstract

Working donkeys (Equus asinus) are essential for human livelihoods and are important for carrying goods. Current recommendations suggest donkeys should only carry loads of up to 50% of their own body weight. We investigated the mounted loads carried by working donkeys in Pakistan. A cross-sectional questionnaire study of donkey owners (n = 332) was conducted, and variables associated with mounted loads were identified using multivariable logistic regression models, with outcomes based on percentage body weight ratio (%BWR). Owners estimated that the median weight of their donkeys was 110kg (interquartile range (IQR) 100-120kg), carrying a median mounted load of 81.5kg (IQR 63-99kg). Owners reported that 87.4% of donkeys carried loads greater than 50% BWR. The median BWR carried was 77.1% (IQR 54.5-90.7%), and 25.3% of donkeys carried greater than 90% BWR. Overloading based on current recommendations (50% BWR) was common. Donkeys carrying more than 50% BWR were 4.2 times more likely to adopt sternal recumbency when loaded than those carrying less weight (p=0.01). Donkeys working in peri-urban and urban areas had a higher BWR than those working in rural areas (p=0.001), as did ones carrying construction versus agricultural materials (p=0.004). Younger donkeys aged 1 to 5 years carried more weight than donkeys aged 15 or older (p=0.03), whilst mixed breed donkeys carried more weight than other breeds of donkeys (p=0.01). In total, 42% (n=138) of owners reported that their donkey had been lame while working. The variables associated with the loading of donkeys in this population have previously been linked to the poor welfare (wounds, lameness, and joint swelling) of working donkeys. Donkeys used in brick transport had more welfare issues (higher skin lesions) as compared to those used for other purposes in previous research, as donkeys working for the brick industry carry more weight. Moreover, while donkeys might appear mature at the age of 2 years, they are still not skeletally developed unless they are 3 to 4 years old, and it has been proposed that donkeys must not carry load until they are 5 to 6 years old to prevent osteoarthritic abnormalities from overloading and overworking. Furthermore, donkey welfare is also affected by harmful practices, working hours per day, harsh environmental conditions, and lack of inclusion in legal systems. Donkey welfare can only be improved with community recognition of the impact of donkey loading practices. Research is critical for developing evidence- based loading guidelines to enhance working donkey welfare.

Citation Format(s)

Welfare concerns with mounted load carrying by working donkeys. / Bukhari, Syed S. U. H.; Rosanowski, Sarah M.; McElligott, Alan G. et al.
ISAE 2022 - Proceedings of the 55th Congress of the ISAE: Animal Behaviour and Beyond. ed. / Miroslav Kjosevski; Susanne Waiblinger; Vlatko Ilieski. MVI ILGEN – Educational center “Sireda”, 2022. p. 192.

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