WVS took part in a positive initiative to prevent donkey road accidents in India. Road accidents are a big problem for donkeys in India. They are seriously injured, sometimes fatally, on a regular basis on unlit roads.
During a WVS donkey outreach clinic vets, Dr. Aswin and Dr Thannamal with our friends at WTG (World Animal Welfare Society) came up with a simple yet amazing solution to avoid donkey accident; give them high visibility safety belts.
The group went to Attappadi, an extensive mountain valley at the headwaters of the Bhavani River nestled deep below the Nilgiri Hills of the Western Ghats around 150kms from Ooty where the ITC is based.
After witnessing first hand the effects of accidents, which puts people as well as donkeys at risk, the group wanted to come up with a rapid response. The idea of clipping the donkeys with florescent ear tags was considered, but decided against because of the infection risks involved.
Similar to the belts worn by New Forest ponies based in the UK, the belts have been successful and have dramatically reduced the number of deaths of donkeys in the area. Further to this high visibility safety belts are low risk to the donkey and can be easily slipped off.
WVS Logistics officer Chris Payne who went on the outreach clinic said;
“These belts will save the lives of countless donkeys as well as human beings. On the basis on this we hope to roll this scheme out to other donkey colonies around India”.
Despite this donkeys have an incredibly hard life in India. They are regularly branded with irons and cut in an attempt to improve their breathing in order to make them work even harder. They are also required to carry enormous weights on their backs, without any breaks or water for hours at a time. They often live in incredible pain and discomfort.