The Lilongwe Society for the Protection and Care of Animals (LSPCA) has completed the delivery exercise of eight purposively built donkey carts to donkey owners under the Donkey Sanctuary Programme (DSP) in Lilongwe and Dedza.
Following days of hard work welding angle Irons, planning timbers and fitting axels to wheels, the wait is finally over. Eight specially designed donkey carts, one of their kind in Malawi, have been delivered to lead farmers in six Extension Planning Areas (EPA); M’gwanga, Mkwinda, Mpingu in Lilongwe, and Linthipe, Lobi in Dedza.
The donkey carts have been specifically designed to suit donkey’s strength and abilities which will greatly enhance the overall welfare of the donkey and stop the unnecessary pain and suffering caused to donkeys who have to pull ox carts with yokes.
The idea of these carts came to light following an understanding that donkeys effectively pull carts with their chest as they have strong muscles on their upper chest unlike oxen which have strong muscles on their backs. As such, donkeys must be harnessed to a cart specifically designed for their strengths.
In Malawi, farmers traditionally hitch donkeys to carts using yokes, which is totally wrong as it cause untold pain and suffering to donkeys.
According to Donkey Sanctuary Programme (DSP) project officer Ms Esimy Chioza said, these carts will improve donkey’s welfare status when adopted on a larger scale as they will minimize donkey’s mistreatments like whipping which usually happens when donkeys fail to perform. Lead farmer approach have been identified as the effective means of introducing these new carts to villages; “we believe that when farmers or villagers saw their trusted lead farmers using these new designed donkey carts, they themselves will be convinced to buy and start using these carts”, said Chioza.
Many thanks to Aaron from Zambia who led the training in donkey cart manufacturing, and also LSPCA staff who spent their time in the field teaching farmers on how they can use this new carts.