Assessment of Welfare of Working Donkeys and Mules Using Health and Behavior Parameters

Asif Hameed, Muhammad Tariq and Muhammad Asim Yasin


Full Length Research Paper I Published June,2016


Journal of Agricultural Science and Food Technology  Vol. 2 (5), pp.69-74





Despite their valuable contributions, mules and donkeys are the most neglected animal, accorded low social status, frequently subjected to overloading, beating, injuries and compelled for long working hours. It is regrettable that these animals are not well cared for, thus reducing their draught capabilities. A protocol was used to assess the welfare of working mules and donkeys using direct observation of health and behavior parameters. In this study, 1200 Mules and donkeys used for transportation, draught and ridden work in different areas of Punjab was assessed. Overall, 20% animals were found severely depressed, while 34% showed no response when approached. Eyes and mucous membrane abnormalities were present in 57.5% and 10.5% Mules and Donkeys. Lip lesions, missing of teeth and presences of molar or sharp edges were present in 47, 14 and 92.5%, respectively. Only 8.5% Mules and Donkeys were found in shinning coat condition, while (22%) were in rough body condition. Lesions on head and ear, neck, breast, wither, girth, shoulder, ribs and belly, spine, tail and tail base, hind quarters, hind legs, knee joints and fore legs were present in order of 11, 9, 32, 40, 45.5, 20, 23.7, 10.5, 24.5, 17.0, 10.5, 22.5 and 28.5%, respectively. Knee lesions, hock lesions, swelling of tendons and joints and deformed limbs were prevalent in 75.0, 55.0, 91 and 9% animals, respectively. Bases on these results welfare needs priority which is not only for their well-being but will also improve the economic status of the owner.

Key Words: Behavior, Cruelty, Donkeys, Mules and Welfare

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