Assessment of health status, handling and management of working animals in Tanzania: A case study of Donkeys in Kilosa district
The use of donkeys as drought animal has been a tradition in various parts of Tanzania. Donkeys transport goods to markets, children to schools, sick people, women in labor and water and supplies to remote communities. Despite the importance of donkeys in the community, little is known on the common diseases affecting donkeys in Tanzania. In addition, there is no structured management systems, handling, reproduction and/or disease control programmes. According to a report by ministry of Livestock development and Fisheries, the number of donkeys is decreasing. Several measures have been undertaken to save these animals including stopping of the slaughter operations which were carried out in Dodoma municipality. However, to fulfill the demand, capacity building on proper management system, handling, disease surveillance and control systems is important. This study therefore assessed the health status of donkeys, handling and management system practiced in Kilosa. Field visits, interviews, structured questionnaire and focus group discussion were used to gather information. Clinical examination was undertaken and samples collected for disease diagnosis. Sick animals were treated. The observation showed that donkeys suffer several ailments including poor management systems (housing, feeding, and manure disposal), infectious diseases, overworking, injuries and inbreeding. Community training, empowerment and veterinary service provision is recommended to improve the health and survival of donkeys in Kilosa.
Keywords: donkey, health, handling, Kilosa