British charity launches vet services for donkeys in Zimbabwe

Help is at hand for Zimbabwe's working donkeys.
Help is at hand for Zimbabwe’s working donkeys. © Spana

A British animal charity is to provide veterinary services for some of Zimbabwe’s poorest communities to help their working donkeys.

The Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad (Spana) says the veterinary services will be able to work towards improving the health and welfare of thousands of working donkeys, which are increasingly relied upon for agriculture, trade and transport in rural areas, where around 95 per cent of the population live in poverty.

The charity’s mobile clinics will visit villages in the provinces of Manicaland, Mashonaland West, Masvingo and Midlands. It is estimated that there are at least 175,000 working donkeys in these areas.

Training will also be provided to hundreds of government veterinary extension assistants in equine husbandry and healthcare, improving the services they can provide for animals in their local communities.

“Our new programme will be helping some of Zimbabwe’s poorest people, many of whom depend on working animals to earn a living,” said Dr Andy Stringer, Spana’s director of veterinary programmes.

“Currently, communities have limited access to veterinary treatment for their animals, but through providing vet services, training animal health professionals and using community development initiatives, we hope to make this a thing of the past.

“We’re aiming for a future where we have developed the capacity of local service providers to deliver animal healthcare, as well as starting to change the attitudes and behaviours of animal owners through education.

“However, we will need as much support as we can get over the next few years and are appealing for funds to help this programme to continue in the future.”

The veterinary services will be provided in association with Zimbabwean charity the AWARE Trust, which for the past three years has been funded by Spana through its small grants programme.

Spana was founded by British mother and daughter Kate and Nina Hosali in 1923. The women set up the charity, then called the Society for the Protection of Animals in North Africa, after seeing animals suffering whilst touring Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria on holiday.

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