Monday 11 February 2013


Dear friends,

Greetings from CARE Trust, Madurai-INDIA. CARE trust conducts equine welfare camps in southern districts of Tamilnadu to study the welfare condition of the donkeys of India. We would like to share some of our case study on the Animal welfare issues that are shocking and Animal welfare Board/Govt. of India may unaware of.
The age old Indian community Dhobi otherwise called as Vannars (in Tamil)  are keeping donkeys over the years and those who are specialised for washing clothes even for the ancient rulers of  Indian kingdoms. They use donkeys to transport bundles of clothes from the villages to the water point (pond/river). These communities belong to scheduled caste categorised below poverty line and are considered as untouchables even today in some villages. Most of these communities have changed either their profession or using motor cycle for transportation of clothes. However some of these communities are still rely on the donkeys for their livelihood. 

The donkeys are widely used for the transport goods to the hill areas, transport of construction material especially sand from the river, transport of manure to the farm lands, transport of pilgrims etc... There prevail lot of superstitious beliefs and traditional myths within this community over the donkeys that caused many mutilation injuries like nose slitting, fire branding, ear notching of the donkeys irrespective of the donkey welfare and veterinary medical knowledge..

Some community owning donkeys around Trichirappalli area are selling donkey milk in different villages; they are nomads moving with their donkeys to different places. The donkey milk is sold for its more nutrition and medicinal properties.  

Now a days there are more advanced transportation available with low cost more speedy works leading to the loss of work for community and abandoning of donkeys. In some areas the illegal sand quarrying has been banned and the donkey owners are prosecuted instead of Quarry mafias. In Sabarimala, the pilgrimage transportation has been banned for the difficulties of cleaning dungs and untouchability of the donkey owners. Hence the community lost stability to sustain their livelihood  and in turn the poor donkeys are abandoned in streets with NO CARE..

Donkey population in Tamilnadu  has been decreased tremendously for last three years. This is due to smuggling of donkeys from these areas to coastal areas of Andra Pradesh where demand for donkey meat is increasing. The donkey meat is believed for their masculine strength. These communities breed donkeys for consumption and also they smuggle donkeys from different areas. The donkey owners who are dependent on these donkeys for their livelihood are affected by this abrupt night smuggling. Each and every donkey owner has lost 10-15 donkeys in Tutucorin , Tirunelveli, Theni , Ramnad, Krishnagiri and vellore districts. The donkey owners have filed complaints to police stations for this issue but they are not able to control this smuggling, as the police think that this is not their priority issue and compassion towards donkeys are less in these areas. Some of donkey owners went to the area where the meat is consumed but they were unable to take any action for this issue as there is no reliable support from the government or police. 

The donkeys are left in roads especially the areas near Sabarimalai where the donkeys are abandoned after ban for work in these pilgrimage hills. These donkeys are tied in legs which are easily been smuggled over night for meat purpose. Even though it is good that the donkeys are banned for hard work in this hilly region seasonally but the fate of these donkeys after their hard work for several years ending up in the meat consumption smuggling is painful to heart.

Now arise the question that these smuggling of donkeys happen for more than 3 yrs from many areas of Tamil Nadu to Andra pradesh and more than 2000 donkeys have reported to get tranported in trucks from TN to AP via more than 40 check posts of both states, not even a single litigation filed on this issue ????. I wonder that the Govt. is ignorant or blind folded to these issues to stop donkeys smuggling for slaughter in AP. 

We kindly request Animal welfare Board/ Govt. of India to take immediate action on this serious issue or may lead to extinction of these donkey species in 50 yrs....

Awaiting response and support from NGOs of related areas....

Thanks & regards,

Dr. Tom krish
 CARE Trust, India
Mobile : +91 9488586215

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