Working animals like donkeys, horses, and mules live a hard life. Used in communities around the world, they spend their days pulling heavy carts and farming equipment in temperatures ranging from frigid cold to scorching heat. These animals play a key role in a farmer’s livelihood, but sadly, working animals are often overworked, underfed, and fail to receive the medical care they need.
Sometimes lack of care is because of financial reasons, or perhaps the owners of the animals haven’t received instructions on proper husbandry practices. In other cases, the animals are victims of intentional neglect at the hands of owners who only see them as a working animal and fail to recognize that animals can suffer and feel pain.
Having been involved in rescue for years, Jill and Warren Barton learned about the plight of these animals after volunteering for a horse and donkey rescue in Cairo. The experience inspired them to do more, and they soon decided to sell their home in Australia and move to Egypt to found Egypt Equine Aid. Located in Cairo, Egypt Equine Aid offers free veterinary services for working horses and donkeys, and the organization works in the community to educate people of all ages about animal care and showing compassion towards animals.
Giving Working Animals a Second Chance
The animals helped by the clinic are in dire need of help. Many arrive suffering from gaping wounds, lameness from broken bones or improper hoof care, and illness and infection. Other times, the animals have been subjected to unimaginable cruelty and neglect, leaving them severely malnourished and in pain from a life of being overworked. The photos shared by the organization tell a heartbreaking and often graphic story of what these animals endure, and sometimes the injuries are so horrific that the organization chooses not to share any of the images.
This sweet donkey pictured above came into the clinic with not only a dangerous infection in her back but hooves that were in terrible condition. Sadly, these conditions, caused by lack of proper care, are something encountered daily at the clinic. But they do their best they can to help each animal recover and teach the owners how to prevent issues in the future.
In the case of a horse called ‘black beauty,’ shown above, her owner knew something was wrong, but he was unable to afford veterinary care. Thanks to Egypt Equine Aid’s free services, he was able to bring her to the clinic to treat her swollen hock. The team found evidence of a fracture and was able to help the man provide the treatment needed for the horse to make a full recovery.
Sadly, there are times where the injuries an animal has sustained are so severe, the only option is to end their suffering through humane euthanasia. So many of these injuries and illnesses could be prevented, but they’ve found that it’s often a lack of proper education in animal care that causes these issues, so they’re working to change that, too.
Educating the Community About Proper Animal Care
While not all injuries can be prevented, educating the owners of working animals about proper husbandry can help prevent malnutrition, pain or infection caused by overgrown hooves, and injury and infection caused by improper saddling and heavy loads. In addition to educating owners, the organization helps train people in farrier services, enabling them to provide essential hoof care to working animals in their community.
They also help teach local veterinary students by providing them with hands-on training in animal care, a crucial part of learning that wasn’t always readily available in the past. Having the hands-on experience helps better prepare them for what they will encounter in real-life situations, and it helps ensure that animals will get the proper care to help them stay healthy and recover from injury or illness.
How You Can Help Their Mission to Save Animals
Egypt Equine Aid gives animals in need a second chance, and because of the generosity of donors, the organization has grown to a team of fifteen people working to care for working horses and donkeys in Cairo. Donations are an integral part of keeping Egypt Equine Aid’s program alive. You can help support this life-saving program by visiting the website to make a donation, which helps provide hay, feed, and medical supplies for the animals in their care.
The organization also needs help to keep their new stables up and running so that animals can get the care they need to recover. You can help this effort by becoming a stable sponsor or gifting food and medical items to help ensure the animals have everything they need during their recovery period.
Visit the organization’s website to learn more about how you can get involved in their life-saving work.
All images source: Egypt Equine Aid/Facebook