Stop drugging donkeys with bhang, Moyale residents told

Moyale Donkeys Welfare Group Chairperson Hussein Osman has warned donkey users against drugging their animals with bhang to allegedly work harder and longer.

He called on locals to give donkeys physical and psychological care and protection as well as medical attention like other domestic animals.

He hinted that Moyale Donkey Welfare Group was currently in talks with their lawyer on how to draft a Bill to be tabled in the Marsabit County Assembly to help eradicate donkey abuse and mistreatment.

Despite the immense benefits the communities gained from the animals ranging from transportation, exchange for the trade value chain, or dowry payment, donkeys are still largely abused in the region.

Moyale Livestock Market Association Chair Hassan Abbaso also condemned the act and wanted the culprits to be brought to book.

Similar concerns were echoed by the Moyale Donkey Welfare Group Treasurer Hawo Gulleid, who lamented that despite the immense support on livelihoods, the animals have been neglected and suffer diverse welfare challenges at the hands of their handlers.

Others transport diesel using donkeys, exposing them to bodily harm. Gulleid was concerned about the drastic decline in the number of donkeys due to the recent drought and trafficking at the border. She called on donkey advocacy organizations and the government to take immediate action against the brutalities that donkeys suffer.

She further appealed for frequent vaccination drives and the provision of donkey feeds by the government, with needy households, especially the women-led ones, relying on the animals to educate their children.

Africa Animal Network Welfare Programme Officer Dennis Bahati said donkeys were the most neglected domestic animals in northern Kenya.
He expressed concern over the rampant abuse of donkeys in the Moyale sub-county.

He downplayed the perception that donkeys could work more effectively by being intoxicated on marijuana. He explained that as an animal expert feeding animals on marijuana in any form was inadvisable and exposed even the handlers themselves to several risks.

Research done between 2018 and 2022 by Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine established that bhang had serious psychoactive effects on donkeys.

Male and female donkeys that were subjected to the test exhibited elevated heart rates, lethargy, and longer comedown periods after ingesting marijuana-infused edibles.

The study noted that both donkeys recovered from the intoxication between 24 and 44 hours after reaching their peak potency.

The female donkey exhibited symptoms of intoxication such as staggering that lasted for 44 hours while the male donkey’s symptoms lasted for 24 hours.
A similar test carried out on pets such as cats and dogs established that dogs have more cannabinoid receptors in their brain thus exposing them to dramatic effects and potential intoxication as compared to humans.

The experiments established that animals process many compounds differently from humans and consequently, many foods and medications that are safe for humans could pose great threats to them.

Some of the compounds that are safe for humans and risky for pets’ ingestion include acetaminophen, ibuprofen, raisins and grapes, macadamia nuts, chocolate, and the artificial sweetener xylitol.

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