As three-year-old donkey Gora pulls his heavy cart of rubbish around the hot, dry and dusty streets of Rosso, Mauritania, he pauses to catch his breath. Recently, the pandemic has meant that work has been hard to find which means meals have become less frequent.
Gora is so malnourished that he doesn’t have the strength to carry the huge bags of waste he has picked up from local homes and businesses to take to the dump. He is so thin that his makeshift harness made from rope is digging into him, cutting into his flesh. His wasted muscles can no longer cushion him against the strain of the harness. Working is excruciating.
Before the pandemic, life for Gora was hard. With his 13-year-old owner Daouda, he worked 10-hour days transporting rubbish in extreme heat. When Covid-19 caused businesses to close and households to have less money, Daouda’s income was cut drastically. Now, Gora works three-hour days – which means there is less money to feed him.
His day is shorter, but his suffering has increased.
The effects of the global pandemic are ongoing for Gora and thousands of animals like him in the world’s poorest communities, where basic survival is a struggle.
Lockdowns around the world have meant that many animals have not received veterinary care and conditions that can normally be managed have become more severe. Routine appointments, including vaccinations and anti-parasite and hoof treatments, have been missed. Infectious diseases are on the rise and cases of malnourishment and famine-related illnesses, such as colic, are at the highest level our vets have ever seen.
Sadly, this means that hardworking animals are experiencing unprecedented suffering. Their recovery will be a long process.
Only with your support can we make sure working animals like Gora survive the ongoing effects of this crisis.