World Donkey Day (May 8)

Donkey is very useful, important and precious animal genetic resource for food and agriculture. Donkey plays pivotal role in the livelihood earning of the million people of the world. Donkey is widely use for pastoral movement, carting, agricultural operations and recreation purposes. There is wide intra and in breed diversity. Such diversity is based on habitat, purpose, selection etc. Donkey is well adapted to all climatic conditions and ecosystem. It ranges from cold temperate region, cold deserts, dry and hot deserts, plain lands, high Alps and coastal ecosystems of the globe.

In some countries, the products, especially milk and meat of donkey is also use. Milk is use as medicine among the pastoral communities for the treatment of respiratory diseases since long time. The meat products are use in many countries of the world and Salami is the famous dish of donkey meat.

Donkey is now introduced in many EU countries as ecosystem service to help in the flora biodiversity in the forest. One of the best example is in Germany, where black berry increased manifolds as a weed in the forests of pines and retarted the germination of the new pine plants. Donkey was introduced in the forest to control black berry and the results are now very visible in such places. Such services of donkey can be the option hope for its conservation in Western Europe and other countries of the world. In Germany, grazing with livestock is the most commonly used strategy for maintaining the landscape and for conserving rare plants, as well as certain bird species on the Red List. Federal and state governments, as well as local municipalities, pay livestock keepers for these services, usually by the number of animal grazing days. Depending on the type of habitat to be maintained, different species, including donkeys, cattle, and sheep are used most frequently. 

The auto-mobile revolution and other social changes affected the historical importance of donkey. The scientists and communities are looking for different and various options to keep donkey as a hope. There are many success stories in this regard, the landscape management is one of the important one. Also, in Balochistan province of Pakistan, Shingharri donkey is used for mining industry of the chromite. The donkey is well praised for its power, obedience and good learning attitude by the mining industry.

Unfortunatel, donkey never enjoyed due importance among the policy makers of the national governments and international organizations. In some countries talking about donkey issues is a sort of taboo. The western educated vets. even sometimes hesitate to talk about donkey and do not work on donkey issues.

Donkey welfare is the challenge of the modern era. Among the carters of donkey, beating, punishment, poor feeding and hard conditions are very common. I hereby appreciate the efforts of Brooke international for halting cruelty on donkeys. The author being the head of the SAVES, introduced world donkey day to stimulate awareness on the donkey issues and to help in halting cruelty. I appeal to the world people to arrange activities on this day and create awareness in this regard.