Donkey essential worker

Working animals give everything for their communities. Will you help end their suffering?

Working animals are completely indispensable to their communities. In fact, each working animals can support the lives of up to 30 people. Can you imagine how difficult life can become for these animals, who act as essential workers for the world’s poorest communities, when they are sick or injured?

The sad truth is that many working animals never see a vet. Their owners can’t afford the treatment, or they live too far from help. Recently, the global pandemic and summer droughts have intensified their struggles. The crises have made work scarcer, so owners can’t afford food, and travel restrictions mean finding medical attention is harder than ever.

These loyal, hardworking animals are relying on your support to put an end to their suffering, just as their communities rely on them.

Salma’s story

As Salma pulls her heavy cart carrying vital water for her community, she is starving. The growing mass in the mule’s mouth makes it nearly impossible for her to eat or drink. With each mile, the burden gets harder to carry as she grows weaker. Sick and close to collapse, Salma must struggle on as her community depends on every drop of her precious cargo.

Salma is a 15-year-old mule who lives in a small, remote village in Northern Morocco. Since she was a foal, Salma has carried out vital work for her owner Esoufi and his family. Salma ploughs the land and transports her owners to the weekly market. Every day, she pulls her heavy cart laden with life-saving water for her village. Following the summer drought, this work is more essential than ever. Without Salma, Esoufi and his family would not be able to earn enough money to buy food or fetch enough water to survive.

Carrying out such work is arduous and over the last year, Salma has grown weak. To Esoufi’s dismay, he noticed a firm, fleshy mass in his mule’s mouth. The growth started to spread across Salma’s tongue, filling her mouth. Though she was hungry, it was becoming difficult for Salma to eat and her weight plummeted. Salma had never stopped working to support her community but now she was wasting away.

This essential worker needs your help.

Salma the mule

Esoufi didn’t know what to do. The foal he raised from birth needed urgent veterinary care. But he lived miles from a vet and could barely afford to buy food to survive, let alone pay for medical attention. Meanwhile, Salma couldn’t stop working as the fate of her owner’s family and neighbours depended on her.

Fortunately, Esoufi heard about our centre in Chemaia and took a risk to make the long 26km journey there in lockdown. Thankfully, our centre was open. Our trained veterinary team quickly examined Salma’s mouth and identified a large tumour. They knew they had to remove it immediately as Salma’s life was in danger. By this stage, her left cheek bulged out so much that her face looked twice the size it should be.

Dr Youness, our vet, said it was the biggest tumour he had seen in 13 years of practicing veterinary medicine.

Dr Youness gave Salma a general anaesthetic to allow his team to painlessly remove the tumour and reconstruct the tissue around it. When Salma woke up, the desperate, starving animal began to eat straight away! She spent three days recovering in the Chemaia centre, managing to put on weight, before being discharged. Luckily, the tumour was benign, but if our vets hadn’t removed it, it would have soon been impossible for Salma to swallow any food or water. Salma would have starved to death.

Many animals like Salma never see a vet, which can result in a lifetime of suffering. SPANA might be their only relief from pain.

Only with your support can we continue to be a lifeline for these essential working animals, now and in the future.

Today, you can help working animals like Salma that go through pain and sickness to keep their communities alive. Your support gives these working animals care when they need it most. With your help, SPANA can stop working animals suffering and make their everyday lives more bearable. We might be their only hope for survival.

Please, if you can, donate today to make sure animals in the world’s poorest communities get the treatment they need.

To speak to our friendly supporter care team please visit our contact us page and get in touch.