Evaluation of the prevalence, nature and distribution of skin wounds in donkeys in Tamilnadu, India


AWF Research Fund



Research Period


Area of study

Student Research


Investigator(s): Emma Rayner

Supervisor(s): Dr Heather Bacon

Wounds in working donkeys are a common welfare problem in many countries. However, little is known about their nature and prevalence.
The aim of this project was to assess the general health of donkeys from several communities in Tamil Nadu, India, and to establish the prevalence, nature and severity of mutilations and other skin wounds. Over ten months five hundred and eighty-two donkeys were examined, and data was collected using a pre-designed, smart-phone app.
Results showed that the overall welfare of donkeys in the five locations was of a reasonable standard, likely because of interventions and education programmes provided to donkey owners in the Tamil region. However, issues with mutilations practices e.g. nose and ear splitting, branding and other skin wounds were still very much present. Over 39% of the donkeys had obtained at least one form of wound, most commonly due to mutilation or poorly fitting harnesses and hobbles.
This data can be used to design future targeted and focused, educational interventions to reduce mutilation practices. The study also highlights the need for further outreach initiatives to improve welfare of donkeys in these regions.  
Links to publication(s): 13.10.18, Vet Record: Prevalence of mutilations and other skin wounds in working donkeys in Tamil Nadu, India

Watch Emma Rayner present this research at the 2018 AWF Discussion Forum



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