By Siphosethu Stuurman
Donkeys’ ROAR Deal, a new project started by Rhodes Organisation for Animal Rights (ROAR) and the Makana Donkey Association, aims to raise funds and awareness for Grahamstown donkey owners so they can care for their donkeys.
Donkeys are an important means for income for many Grahamstown citizens however ignorant owners are the reason donkeys are treated so badly. “We believe that people do not hurt these animals intentionally,” says ROAR president Katherine Townshend.
Donkeys’ ROAR Deal, a sub-committee to ROAR, aims to help donkey owners by teaching them how to keep their animals healthy and improve their standard of life. “We are going to work with Makana Donkey Association in teaching people how to look at minor wounds, to prevent diseases and use donkey equipment,” said Townshend.
“Donkeys provide people with a livelihood, so they do not want their donkey to get sick or die,” explains Townshend. However issues of ignorance and poverty are often what endangers the donkeys.
A plan for the future will be for donkey owners to bring their donkeys to a meeting point in town where ROAR members will be able to help the owner by teaching them how to clean cuts and sores and apply antiseptic spray. In addition the owner will be provided with a donkey car kit. Townshend is looking for Xhosa speakers to help translate if necessary. ROAR hopes to involve local farriers to care for the donkeys’ hooves.
ROAR plans to host fund raising dinners in order to purchase donkey care kits, which would include antiseptic spray, a water bucket, a body brush and a hoof pick. “The Makana Donkey association has done its collection of funds and was very successful,” says Townshend. She believes the ROAR fund raising campaign will also be a success.
In support of the Donkeys’ ROAR Deal, the Rhodes Debating Society hosted a debate last Thursday on animal rights in South Africa. Townshend believes animal rights are not respect by the nation as a whole. “I actually learnt a lot about animals and what people think about their rights, the debate was really cool,” says first year Lucky Chigwade.
Owners use donkey carts to get wood from the near bushes and sell them to the townships in addition to donkeys being used as a means of transport by those who cannot afford taxi fares.
Donkey abuse is a local issue, which is neglected by many Grahamstownians even though the problem has an easy solution. “We are about to make a huge difference,” says Townshend.