Helping donkeys in Middle East & Central Asia
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 2003:
PETA president Ingrid Newkirk offended numerous Jewish groups
in January 2003 with a letter to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
protesting the use of a donkey as an unwitting “suicide bomber” on
Newkirk also mentioned “stray cats in your own compound” who
“fled as best they could” from Israeli forces, but made no objection
to the human toll in the ongoing Israeli/Palestianian strife.
The recorded history of harsh treatment and overwork of
donkeys in the Middle East dates at least to the time of Moses, when
Balaam’s donkey reputedly spoke out on her own behalf.
However, the London-based Society for Protecting Animals
Abroad now operates clinics for donkeys and other equines in Algeria,
Jordan, Mali, Morocco, Syria, and Tunisia.
The Brooke Hospital for Animals, also of London, has active
equine clinics in Afghanistan, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Jordan,
Maintaining a presence in refugee camps along the
Afghanistan/Pakistan border throughout the Taliban regime,
1996-2001, and in Kabul since soon after U.S. troops forced the
Taliban out, the Brooke in March 2003 opened another free clinic for
equines in the southern Afghan city of Jalalabad.
“The project involves a team of specially trained local vets
treating sick and injured animals, offering saddlery and farriery
training, and running education programs,” said a notice from the
World Society for the Protection of Animals, which is partially
funding the Jalalabad clinic.
Central Asian wildlife
Two snow leopards seized in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan from a
traveling Russian circus in February are “The first real evidence
that Russian traveling circuses are involved in the smuggling and
trading of snow leopards,” German Society for Nature Conservation
snow leopard project coordinator Birga Dexel told BBC News Online
environment correspondent Alex Kirby.
“The society says live snow leopards are sold for up to
$22,000 and that there is widespread trade in the animals, skins,
bones, and meat,” Kirby reported. “It says there is growing
evidence of a significant increase in the trade, accelerating the
species’ rapid decline across central Asia.”
Since 1999, Kirby said, German Society for Nature
Conservation staff and a web of paid informants have enabled
Kyrgyzstan officials to confiscate five live snow leopards and 16
pelts, arrest more than 150 alleged traffickers, seize 400 weapons,
and destroy 650 traps.