Speaking up for donkeys in Jordan
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2003:
AMMAN, Jordan–Formerly abused and abandoned donkeys
Tinklet, Pushball, and Barney don’t actually speak, but like
Balaam’s ass, who testified nearby, and is remembered in the holy
literature of Judasim, Christianity, and Islam, they do their part
to teach humans decency toward their species.
Chris Larter of the British-based Society for Protecting
Animals Abroad (SPANA), recently sent ANIMAL PEOPLE an update on
their doings, complete with press clippings.
“Jordan SPANA director Dr. Ghazi Mustafa is at present very
busy getting ready to open a new education center in September,”
Situated at the Hassanieh School for Girls in Um Quseir, the
center will teach animal care and ecological principles to members of
115 animal care clubs established in Jordanian schools with the
cooperation of the Ministry of Education.
“Our target audience are students from 9 to 13,” Mustafa
told Natasha Twal of the Jordan Times.
“There is a real need here to educate children to respect
animals. Many have never touched an animal, so the idea is to
encourage them to see and touch donkeys, lambs, goat-kids,
puppies, rabbits, hamsters, and so forth,” Larter said. “Tinklet
and Pushball are already at the center, while Barney is at our
clinic in the Jordan Valley with six other donkeys. The six of them
and a pony have all been part of a money-raising adoption scheme
which I established for SPANA in 1995.”
Larter is also involved in the Humane Center for Animal
Welfare, “begun in September 2000 on private land belonging to
Margaret and Peter Ledger,” Larter said. Located near the Dead Sea
Highway, “It does similar work. Believe me, there is enough work
for 10 such centers in Jordan,” Larter added. “The center cares for
horses, donkeys, mules, dogs, cats, rabbits, and sometimes
goats and sheep. HCAW now needs more space, and has been given a
larger plot outside Amman by the Greater Amman Municipality. All it
needs now is the money to build a new clinic and refuge. As HCAW is
not funded from London as SPANA is, this means seeking donors or
The work of both SPANA and HCAW to promote donkey welfare has
gained urgency because of ongoing conflict between Israelis and
Palestinians on the West Bank.
“During 34 months of conflict, Israel has blocked most West
Bank roads in an effort to stop suicide bombers,” explained
Christian Science Monitor staff writer Nicole Gaouette on July 22,
2003. This has slowed vehicular traffic to a crawl.
“In response,” Gaouette wrote, “Palestinians are turning to
donkeys, making an age-old economic engine one of the West Bank’s
The nearest and indeed only practical source of donkeys is Jordan.
That, in turn, may be saving some donkeys from export to Europe
Islamic law forbids the consumption of hooved animals other
than sheep, cattle, and camels, except in time of emergency. In
Mashhad, Iran, according to Agence France-Presse, two butchers who
illegally sold donkey meat were in early June jailed for four and
five years, respectively, and were fined a combined total of $9,200