Contrary to an undeserved reputation for being stubborn and bad-tempered, donkeys are highly intelligent, curious, extremely level-headed and gentle.
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In Pakistan, they are mistreated and often tortured with excessive workload. Like all living beings, they have feelings, emotions and some complex traits.
A post by Ayesha Chundrigar Foundation (ACF), a non-profit animal welfare organisation based in Karachi, has something that will change your perception of donkeys entirely.
According to the organization’s research, the donkeys are desert animals, which means they are used to having an individualistic nature and don’t travel in herds or packs.
When a predator such as a lion in a desert preys upon a donkey, a donkey by nature freezes in fear whilst most other animals run (fight or flight). The herd and pack protect each other. Donkeys are loners by nature.
Consequently, a donkey tends to store all feelings internally and doesn’t show them outwards. The term, ‘as stubborn as a mule’ is incorrect because donkeys are not stubborn. They just internalise their fear, their anger, their sadness and their pain. The one thing they do show is happiness when they are rolling around happily in the mud or playing around and being affectionate with human beings…something we have never seen in this country.
Donkeys want to please their owners. They will work with everything they’ve got, if you ask nicely, if you are gentle and kind. The more you hit them, the more they will hurt and the less they will work.
The animal rights foundation said that in Pakistan, people put thick metal rings in a donkey’s mouth that doesn’t allow the donkey to close its mouth, and in this scorching heat, the metal is burning hot and the donkey has a burnt mouth and mouth sores. To make things worse, people attach nails to the metal rings that poke and pierce the donkey’s mouth-they believe the more pain you put the donkey in, the more he will run. That is completely incorrect and, in fact, it is the complete opposite, the post added.
“We are seeing and have been seeing animal torture happen to this highest level outside our car windows and around us everyday. The donkey is screaming a silent plea for help that no one bothers to hear. He is crying silent tears that no one bothers to see. He needs someone to help him because he cannot help himself. He is always in pain, melting in the sun, wounds burning all over his body, he runs as fast as he can but he is still beaten and beaten and beaten. This happens literally in front of our eyes everyday.”
“Yet, no one has ever bothered to find out why or have taken a stand but so many of us claim to be animal lovers. None of us are truly animal lovers until we actually help those animals who need the help. And there are so many around you who need help.”
Here’s how you can help according to ACF:
Befriend the donkey owner. Remember, he doesn’t know any better himself. After all, many of us didn’t know this fact we have just explained in detail. Give him some water/food/money for iftar. Talk to him gently. Explain to him that he will benefit from better treatment of his donkey as his donkey will live longer and work harder.
Explain to the owner that the hot ground burns the feet of the donkey and the heat burns the mouth of the donkey. Best to travel after sunset when the ground is cooler. Try stepping on the hot road yourself without shoes. That’s how an animal feels on the hot ground as well.
Stop on the road, make the donkey owner stop and make sure you take the ring out of the donkey’s mouth and give it water. Watch it drink the water.