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Animals 2019, 9(4), 159; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9040159

The Role and Welfare of Cart Donkeys Used in Waste Management in Karachi, Pakistan

1
Brooke (Pakistan) South Region, RCVH, MA Jinnah Road, Karachi 74100, Pakistan
2
Brooke (UK), Friars Bridge Court, 41-45 Blackfriars Rd, South Bank, London SE1 8NZ, UK
3
The Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, Hatfield, Hertfordshire AL9 7TA, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 February 2019 / Revised: 3 April 2019 / Accepted: 9 April 2019 / Published: 12 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
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Simple Summary

In low and middle-income countries, equids (donkeys, horses, and mules) play a critical role in supporting people’s livelihoods. In Karachi, donkey carts are used to transport building materials, commercial produce and garbage. However, to date the role of donkeys in waste management has received little attention. This study therefore aimed to articulate the role and welfare of donkeys used in waste management. Interviews were conducted with donkey owners, households that use donkey carts to collect their waste and key informants. We found that the collection of waste was the primary source of income for 89% of donkey owners interviewed; of those working in waste management, 62% were under 18 years of age. Households reported removal of waste by donkey cart as their preferred waste management option, and reported that there would be a huge garbage build-up if donkey carts became unavailable. A number of animal welfare concerns were documented; 52.9% of donkeys had a body condition score of two. Muzzle mutilation was extremely high (78.4%) and 66.7% of donkeys had superficial knee lesions. We recommend that appropriate public resources are allocated to improve the welfare of both donkeys and people working in waste management in Pakistan.

Abstract

Equine ownership is a common income-generating strategy in Pakistan. In Karachi, donkey carts are used to transport building materials, commercial produce and garbage. This study aimed to articulate the role and welfare of donkeys used in waste management. We conducted interviews with donkey owners (n = 200), households which use donkey carts for waste collection (n = 50) and key informants (n = 14). To assess the welfare of donkeys, the Standardised Equine-Based Welfare Assessment Tool (SEBWAT) was used (n = 204). Collection of waste was the primary source of income for 89% of owners interviewed. Of those directly involved in waste collection, 62% were found to be under 18 years of age. During interviews with donkey cart customers the majority reported that there would be a huge garbage build-up if donkey carts were not available. Welfare assessments demonstrated that 52.9% of donkeys had a body condition score of two. Muzzle mutilation was extremely high (78.4%) and 66.7% of donkeys had superficial knee lesions. This is the first study that has explored the role of donkey carts in waste management in Pakistan. The data demonstrate the sizable role that donkey-owning communities play in waste management and the important livelihood option this offers, as well as considerable animal welfare concerns. View Full-Text
Keywords: cart donkey; animal welfare; waste management; Karachi; Pakistan; working equid cart donkey; animal welfare; waste management; Karachi; Pakistan; working equid
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Shah, S.Z.A.; Nawaz, Z.; Nawaz, S.; Carder, G.; Ali, M.; Soomro, N.; Compston, P.C. The Role and Welfare of Cart Donkeys Used in Waste Management in Karachi, Pakistan. Animals 2019, 9, 159.

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