This International Working Animal Day (15 June), we’re highlighting the devastating impact of plastic pollution on working animals like Oxmo, a donkey who needed urgent treatment from SPANA’s veterinary team in Mali.
In many low-income countries, plastic pollution is a major problem for working animals. In areas where waste collection services are limited, discarded plastic can litter communities. Sadly, grazing working animals can accidentally consume this plastic waste – resulting in life-threatening illnesses.
One working animal who needed SPANA’s urgent help after accidentally eating plastic was Oxmo, a donkey from Mamaribougou, close to Mali’s capital city, Bamako. Oxmo journeys to the forest six days a week with his owner, Moussa, to collect firewood. Moussa then sells the firewood so that he can provide for his wife and three children.
One morning, Moussa was alarmed to find his usually bright and friendly donkey lying down. Every time Moussa coaxed him to stand, Oxmo would lie down again. Thankfully, SPANA’s mobile clinic was making its regular visit to their area that day, so Moussa brought his donkey to the nearby clinic to receive the emergency care he so desperately needed.
At the clinic, SPANA’s veterinary team examined Oxmo. They diagnosed the donkey as suffering from colic caused by an obstruction from a plastic object. Ingested plastic can cause internal blockages in working animals, leading to serious and potentially fatal complications, such as colic.
Our vets gave Oxmo anti-inflammatory medication to ease the pain caused by the blockage, as well as medication to help clear the obstruction. The vets also advised Moussa to give Oxmo plenty of fresh, clean water in the following days to keep him hydrated.
Moussa was relieved and thankful that SPANA was able to treat Oxmo. He said: ‘SPANA does good work and has a longstanding relationship with this neighbourhood. We are always encouraged when they arrive. Thank you.’
Thanks to your support, SPANA teams across the world are providing lifesaving care and support to working animals like Oxmo who are affected by plastic pollution and other environmental problems. This International Working Animal Day, find out how we are working to transform the welfare of working donkeys, horses, mules, camels, oxen and elephants in a world where animals, people and the environment are respected and thrive.