Dec 23, 2008
Farmers and Bedouins rely on donkeys for survival. WSPA wants to educate and bring veterinary care to help the people of Bethlehem to improve the welfare of their donkeys.
WSPA is helping donkeys around the world; in Bethlehem, we plan to establish owner education workshops.
Conditions are formidable for the Bedouin, who ride for miles through the hot, dry and desolate desert on donkeys to collect water and wood. Some even use them for herding goats and sheep.
Alistair Findlay, Middle East Programmes Manager at WSPA, says:
"Lack of education and poverty are major factors leading to the problems endured by working equines in the Middle East."
"The donkeys in Bethlehem are tormented by the heat and parasites and it doesn’t help that they have an insufficient diet to match their strenuous workload. WSPA’s education programme should lead to a positive change in people’s attitudes."
Trevor Wheeler, WSPA's Middle East Programmes Director, adds:
"Bedouins and farmers cannot afford alternative forms of transport. They live in the depths of the desert’s waste lands and although most care a great deal about their donkeys they can not afford veterinary care."
Working with local groups that form part of WSPA's Member Society Network, we:
Aim- to provide mobile veterinary clinic that will travel the length of the eastern and western slopes of Bethlehem with help from the Palestine Wildlife Society.
Hope- the mobile clinic will provide veterinary services to more than 400 donkeys and an educational programme to assist their owners.
Alistair comments: "I believe this programme will succeed as the people of Bethlehem are asking for help themselves, they do not want their donkeys and consequently their livelihoods to suffer."
With this work, WSPA:
Aims to start WSPA's first ever series of human-behaviour change workshops in the Middle East
Hopes to educate owners on how to look after animals such as donkeys and empower them with the knowledge they need to do this long-term.
Alistair Findlay and Trevor Wheeler have been dedicated to working in the Middle East on behalf of WSPA for over seven years.
Alistair and Trevor began in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with the feral cat control programme and have never looked back, changing the hearts and minds of the people in this complicated and sometimes difficult region of the world to work in.
In September 2008 the first national animal welfare legislation was implemented in the UAE.
WSPA has now also been given the opportunity to assist some of the other Emirates, where animal welfare is virtually non existent. WSPA will provide government officials with practical and technical assistance as animal welfare laws are implemented across the Middle East region.