Saving the donkeys
… the Karoo Animal Protection Society provides proper new bits and replacement harnesses
LIFE has just become a whole lot better for 50 donkeys in a remote farming area called Baviaanskloof in the Eastern Cape. Many people who live there are poor and they mostly get around on donkey carts. There aren’t many vets around, and even if there were, people can’t afford the bills.
Visitors to the area think the donkeys and their carts are attractive and take lots of pictures of them. But the carts are ramshackle – that means falling down, badly built – and the harnesses the donkeys wear to pull them are held together with wire and string.
The bits – the part of the harness that goes into the donkey’s mouth – are home-made and can injure the animals’ delicate mouths. On October 22 the Karoo Animal Protection Society (Kaps) held a clinic in the Baviaanskloof for the donkeys.
They gave the carters new, wellfitting bits for all the donkeys, and handed out complete replacement harness for 20 of the donkeys – each cart is pulled by two. Then the animals had any wounds treated.
The people from the clinic persuaded some of the drivers to rest their donkeys until they recovered.
Conditions are tough in Baviaanskloof. It’s very dry because there has been a long drought. All the donkeys were very thin, so Kaps bought them feed and lucer ne. Some of the donkeys were so thin that the new harnesses had to be altered to fit them.
Kaps is a small organisation based in Barrydale, near Swellendam, but it works in a big area. They noticed the problems in the Baviaanskloof area when they were working in Aberdeen.
So Kaps raised money for inspectors to go from door to door checking on animals in poor areas. They also held clinics where dogs and cats were spayed so they couldn’t have more babies.
Now the Baviaanskloof municipality says it will contribute to Kaps’ costs if it looks at the problems of animals in towns like Steytlerville, Baviaanskloof and Willowmore.
Kaps chairperson Colette Teale said: “A partnership between us and the municipality has meant the animals’ lives are transformed.”
The municipality provided premises and persuaded owners to co-operate with Kaps, and has also agreed to give some of its funds to the donkey clinic. The trouble is the money will come from Baviaan skloof ’s pet care funds, so more money is needed for the donkeys. The harnesses in particular are expensive. But they have been helped by a company in Middelburg, GDE Leather, which made the harnesses at half-price. And while 50 donkeys have been helped, there are more than 100 left who have not.
They also need feeding, deworming, and decent equipment. And they need to get their teeth fixed.
Teale said Kaps was grateful to the leather company as well as Marge and LeRoi Willmore of the Barnyard Donkey Sanctuary in George who helped with Kaps’s efforts. But Kaps wants more: vets to volunteer a day of their time to help at future clinics and people to send money.
If you or your family can help, contact Teale on tel/fax 028 572 1717 or 072 277 1056.
NEW FITTINGS: Donkeys with new harnesses donated by Kaps at the animal clinic held in Baviaanskloof.