None to bother about these beasts of burden
Their day starts just like any other worker’s life. Sacks on their backs and no expectations from their bosses they walk in pairs, one behind the other as their master leads them towards water bodies. They wait in the hot sun until their master completes washing dirty clothes of the people. Just before dusk, they carry the washed cloths back to their master’s home.
Medak: Their day starts just like any other worker’s life. Sacks on their backs and no expectations from their bosses they walk in pairs, one behind the other as their master leads them towards water bodies. They wait in the hot sun until their master completes washing dirty clothes of the people. Just before dusk, they carry the washed cloths back to their master’s home.
Life is usual for these domesticated members of the horse family as long as they are fit to work. The moment they get wounded or develop some illness, their masters abandon them to die a miserable and painful death on the streets. This is the condition of hardworking donkeys in Medak town.
Incisions between the knees and heels of donkeys are a common sight in Medak town. For the past few days, a black male donkey in Fateh Nagar area, where a large population of dhobis live, was seen abandoned as it had developed these cuts on its left leg. As days passed, the cuts developed into an infection.
As the donkey kept licking the open wound, the infection spread to its digestive system and huge bubble-like haemorrhoids appeared from its anus. With nobody to take care of it, the donkey has been lying on the crossroads near the main market of Medak. Death was just days away if not hours, as the weak donkey laid on the roadside exposed to the harsh sun.
The Hans India, after enquiring about the owner of the donkey, approached the Medak Town Police to rescue the donkey. Circle Inspector K Bhaskar immediately summoned the master of the donkey and ordered him to get it treated immediately or face action. After a week of suffering, the donkey was finally treated at the Veterinary Hospital in Medak.
What started off with a small wound which could have easily been treated, had the master taken his pet-cum-worker to the hospital, could have averted this painful situation. In fact, it is the dhobi community which is responsible for the sorry plight of not only this donkey, but all such donkeys.
The donkeys are taken to work in pairs with rope tied around legs (between the knees and heels) of two donkeys. The rope is tightly tied and this causes cuts which develop into severe wounds in the legs of the donkeys and this spread across their system resulting in their deaths.
“In summer, as the heels of the donkeys become hot, the donkeys become impatient and disoriented. It becomes difficult to make them walk in line. That is the reason why we tie the rope,” said Seenu, one of the persons from the dhobi community.
However, one of the bizarre excuses given by Venkat, the master of the rescued donkey was that the donkey had developed ‘Ammathalli,’ a condition which is commonly known as chicken pox. He went on to say that it was quite common for them to put incisions on the backs of donkeys whenever they became sick. He claims that this kind of treatment cures the donkeys.
One of the dhobis also told The Hans India that it was because the veterinary staff was not capable enough to treat their animals in the past, they had to give such home treatment, even if it cost the donkeys their lives. The dhobis of Medak have been clearly violating the rights of donkeys by not taking reasonable measures to ensure the well-being of the animal, not preventing the infliction upon such animal of unnecessary pain or suffering.
They are also keeping the animal chained (roped) or tethered upon for long time and have been wilfully permitting the animals to venture into the streets while the animals are affected with contagious diseases and letting them die on streets. Giving their own medication and administering them country treatments are all violations of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960.
“Unfortunately, the Act lets the perpetrators of these cruel acts to get away with nominal fines as they cannot be imprisoned,” commented Shekhar Reddy, Medak Town Sub-inspector. Circle Inspector K Bhaskar assured The Hans India that he would hold a meeting with the people belonging to dhobi community to figure out a way to prevent tying ropes around the legs of the donkeys, so that they don’t have to suffer.
The rescued black donkey’s case is not an isolated one, as many donkeys can be seen in Medak town with incisions on their legs and puss coming out of the wounds. These donkeys help dhobis make a livelihood by carrying not only clothes behind their backs, but also grains and illegally smuggling sand from local streams.
“Unless amendments are made to the Act and stern action is taken against perpetrators of this kind of brutality, it is difficult to create fear among them. We hope Maneka Gandhi is listening to the brays of donkeys suffering from pain,” said Padma, environmental educationist. As for the condition of the rescued black donkey, all thanks to Medak Police and Veterinary Assistant, it looks like the donkey will survive for now.
By Vivek Bhoomi