It was a day of polarizing emotions the day we went to The Donkey Sanctuary just outside of Kathmandu this June. Animal Nepal have rented some land, and are rescuing (and retiring) some of the hardest hit animals working in the brick industries in Nepal.
Being made up primarily of equines, the donkeys, mules and horses that carry the bricks from place to place in Kathmandu are often poorly treated. Chafing wounds are left untreated, they're not fed correctly and of course they are forced to carry too much load. Some, like in the picture below, have their ears cut off as it's a local myth that this will prevent tetanus. Without medication (before or after) goes without saying.
At the end of the season, it used to be that the 'owners' of these animals simply left them to fend for themselves in the city. They travelled back to their villages until the new season began, upon which they would purchase new labour animals. These gorgeous creatures had a one season life span as far as their owners were concerned.
This is until Animal Nepal (partnering with Animal Aid Abroad Australia) stepped in and pledged to change the situation. They rescued the animals who couldn't survive on their own at the end of the season, they had laws passed (which among other things, determine maximum carry loads for brick industry equines), and their ongoing educational program for the owners of these creatures is a spectacular success; not one donkey was left behind at the end of the last season.
The working animals are now valued and treated better than they were previously. The rescued donkeys, horses and mules are now living out the remainder of their lives in a retired environment. Free to eat, play, sleep and just live as they are meant to.
Of course that means with other animals as well. Jeevan the goat (below) was rescued from a sacrificial alter. He now basically rules the roost as resident tough guy.
Lucky the dog (below) was found in a field not far from the shelter, wandering alone as his mother had died. He was too young to survive on his own so the team brought him in as well. This crazy, lucky little pooch now has the best life possible for a dog in this tentative environment.
All animals are accounted for on 'the board' each day; who they are (names, species and sex), where they are on the grounds, and when are they coming back to the homestead. The team at Animal Nepal run a tight ship.
Santa Shrestha the caretaker (below) and his wife live on the property and oversee / take care of the animals 24 hours a day.
We can only give such a huge thank you to these lovely humans who dedicate their lives to our animal brothers and sisters. We are in such awe, and are thankful to have found you. We have been truly inspired and will try and affect some change here in Australia where we are able. (Look out for the Surya Animal Rescue Farm here on the South coast of NSW coming just as soon as we can. Collaborations welcome).
Until next time,