Horse & Donkey Welfare

Welfare issues of horses and donkeys in India are multifold. Donkeys are used to carry heavy loads on difficult terrains with no proper roads to supply construction sites with sand and bricks or to support pilgrimages to certain temples, carrying the supplies of the devotees. Often any professional veterinary health care facilities for donkeys are entirely non-existing and owners often rely on traditional healing practices, like cutting the tips of the donkeys ears ‘to let out the bad blood’ or cutting the nostrils open ‘to help the breathing’ or branding with hot iron ‘to cure tetanus/lameness/ almost anything’.

After the racing career of a racehorse is over, they are often sold for very cheap to people operating in the tourist riding business. In tourist towns like Ooty, horses are left to roam free on the roadsides and among the traffic and caught when needed for the riding. Fending for themselves on the streets they are easy victims for traffic accidents and also suffer from colic caused by plastic rubbish impaction as these horses – just like cows – end up feeding from the open rubbish bins and all the waste thrown on the roadsides. Over the years IPAN has rescued many abandoned ex-racehorses from the streets of Ooty to retire in peace in the Hill View Farm Animal Refuge.

Dr. Gita Jayaram is IPAN’s Horse Welfare Volunteer, who reports about injured horses on the roads and who has also together with Nigel met with some of the key players of the racing horse industry in Bangalore to establish discussion with them to find a suitable solution for the ex-racehorses.

We have a dream.

We know that somewhere out there is a person, experienced in natural horsemanship, with interest in working with rescued horses and teaching these skills to others. A person who would be able to spend some 6-12 months in India on our farm, working with the ponies and horses and teaching our staff as well as kids from the nearby schools some of these skills in the form of a weekly pony club meeting or something like that and helping to arrange farm activity weekend camps for city children. ​Because we believe that the farm with its animals has lot more potential to offer for people, especially for children who could really benefit from learning about positive communication with horses and simply from being around animals, taking part in the daily activities at the farm.