Donkey Sanctuary brings animal welfare to COP26


Donkeys can play a key role in protecting vulnerable communities from global warming, according to a Devon-based charity.

The donkey sanctuary is set to attend the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow as world leaders discuss tackling climate change.

Speaking at an event at COP26, the international animal welfare charity will explain how working donkeys play a critical role in building resilience to climate change in low- and middle-income countries and provide essential post-disaster support by providing aid and materials for reconstruction.

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Ian Cawsey, Director of Advocacy and Campaigns at The Donkey Sanctuary, said: “At COP26, governments need to consider three key issues regarding donkeys.

“First, they help create the desired sustainable livelihoods; second, donkeys are as vulnerable to climate change as anyone else in the communities they support and therefore should be included in disaster planning; and third, donkeys and mules are essential to disaster planning. emergency and recovery response.

“With over 40 million donkeys working around the world, someone has to speak up for them, that’s what The Donkey Sanctuary team will do at COP26.”

Working donkeys, Kenya (The Donkey Sanctuary)

Together with World Horse Welfare and other international organizations, The Donkey Sanctuary, which is headquartered in Sidmouth, will explore ways to ensure animals are considered in the fight against global warming.

They will also ensure that the health and safety of draft animals is included in the negotiations and commitments made at COP26.

Valentina Riva, Advocacy Manager at Donkey Sanctuary, is a speaker at an event on greener agriculture “Towards a fair and sustainable transformation of food systems? “.

Donkeys with saddlebags (The Donkey Sanctuary)
Donkeys with saddlebags (The Donkey Sanctuary)

She said: “As draft animals, healthy donkeys and mules contribute to both agricultural production and ecological management in rural communities, providing an alternative to mechanized energy when vehicles are expensive or unsuitable for the terrain.

“Draft animals must be seen in the broader context of international development and the achievement of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as freedom from poverty, zero hunger and quality education, such as as defined by the United Nations and to be achieved by 2030.

“Ending poverty and hunger for all requires building the resilience of marginalized and vulnerable people to reduce their exposure to climate-related events and other environmental shocks. Donkeys and mules help build this resilience.

Plowing, West Bank (The Donkey Sanctuary)
Plowing, West Bank (The Donkey Sanctuary)

Extreme weather events such as drought, fires and floods are increasingly common due to climate change. Disasters are not always sudden like earthquakes or hurricanes; they can also build up slowly, as in a prolonged drought.

Rural communities in East Africa have been able to adapt to the new climatic conditions thanks to their draft donkeys, which can survive in areas of sparse vegetation and little water.

When boreholes dry up, donkeys allow women landowners to travel longer distances to fetch water and help their families survive.

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After disasters triggered by climate change, donkeys and mules can also help their owners return to work, restoring income and social stability.

Donkeys can transport people in and out of disaster areas and provide life-saving assistance to communities, which cannot be reached by vehicles.

Animals can also carry materials for the reconstruction of roads, houses and other buildings damaged in the disaster.

Donkey carrying fresh fish, Lamu.  (The donkey sanctuary)
Donkey carrying fresh fish, Lamu. (The donkey sanctuary)

Donkeys and mules were able to collect and deliver clean water and supplies after the 2015 earthquake in Nepal.

The earthquake, which claimed the lives of nearly 9,000 people, wiped out entire villages of low-cost informal buildings that were unlikely to withstand the devastating impact.

It also cut off mountain communities when roads became unsafe or impassable for motor vehicles.

An estimated 500 million people in the world’s most vulnerable communities depend on work equines as a lifeline to meet their needs.

Donkeys also allow women to participate in economic activity, thus helping to raise their social status; they can also help children access education.

The Donkey Sanctuary is a global leader in equine welfare, research and veterinary care.

The charity runs programs around the world for animals working in agriculture, industry and transportation.

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