Journal of
Veterinary Medicine and Animal Health

  • Abbreviation: J. Vet. Med. Anim. Health
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2529
  • DOI: 10.5897/JVMAH
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 415

Article in Press

Selected intervention strategies to improve health and welfare of working donkeys in Kenya. A Review

Mary N. Gichure* Olawale Olayide, Douglas Otoo, and Ibrahim Tuzee A. Raheem

  •  Received: 06 November 2023
  •  Accepted: 18 December 2023
Animal health and welfare has become an issue of increasing concern worldwide. Working donkeys have been used for income generation for many households in the rural, peri-urban and pastoral areas of Kenya. They continue to be exposed to many health and welfare challenges which reduce their productivity and hence the amount of household income earned through them. Various interventions have been made by stakeholders to address these challenges but they have persisted. A comprehensive review of the intervention strategies previously applied was conducted to systematically analyze the reasons that could contribute to persistence of health and welfare challenges among working donkeys and triangulating them with the changes in health and welfare. Some of the intervention strategies identified were: (i) Knowledge change through training donkey owners on donkey welfare, handling, feeding, working conditions, routine health checks, basic first aid skills to offer their donkeys as they await arrival of veterinary services. (ii) Refresher trainings to animal health providers to enhance their capacity in handling equine cases;(iii) direct free or subsidized treatment of donkeys through medical camps, as well as through (iv) advocacy and (v) legislation. Low adoption of gained knowledge and skills, lack of sustainability in the approaches, emerging challenges which complicate ongoing intervention efforts; were identified as the reasons for the persistent health and welfare challenges. Although some positive changes were recorded in health and welfare of donkeys; gaps still existed in adoption of the knowledge and skills to change practice. Unsustainable interventions resulted in other challenges such as lack of or late reporting of sick donkeys as owners kept sick donkeys for their free or subsidized treatment in the medical camps; unwillingness to pay for treatment of donkeys by the existing animal health professionals, unwillingness of animal health providers to attend to donkey cases due to a perceived competition from the NGOs in donkey treatment. The findings would provide policy makers and implementers at county and national level with information they can use to ensure development is done in a manner that promotes sustainability of donkey welfare projects; ultimately improving the livelihoods of the donkey owners and users. Lessons of this study will also help project implementers to prioritize areas of intervention in light of the ever changing challenges affecting working donkeys.

Keywords: Working donkeys, Health and Welfare Interventions, Sustainability