This can also be said of donkeys, which have largely the same virtues and suffered the same fate. Since they are less protected, abuse in their case often extends to cruelty and worse.
There are more than 40 million donkeys in the world, and they are among the least understood and most mistreated creatures on our planet.
Humans mistakenly refer to the most stupid members of their species as donkeys. this is not true. In fact, behavioral studies of donkeys have found them to be honest, playful, patient and eager to learn.
The writer Premchand well captured the virtues of the donkey. “I have never seen a donkey get angry… It is resolute and steadfast in situations of gain or loss, joy or distress, and it reflects many of the virtues of sages. If someone calls them stupid despite this, it is a clear case of disrespect for the most important virtues.”
Another famous writer Krishan Chander has written a series of novels about the experiences of a wise and kind-hearted donkey caught in the midst of the distortions of a selfish and narrow-minded human world.
However, such appreciation and understanding of donkeys is very rare among most humans. We often turn a blind eye to the mistreatment of donkeys. Cruelty to livestock or dogs may lead to interference, but in the case of a donkey it may be neglected.
Donkeys serve very well as pack or load animals. They are used to transport large quantities of sand, bricks, clothing or other goods. While covering the Od community who are known for their special skills in building foundations and in quarries, I got to know about the important contribution that their donkeys have made.
And in the Thar desert while reporting on water scarcity, I saw villagers searching for water with their donkeys carrying several empty cans. When a source of water was found, the cans were filled with water, and if the villager had to go further, the donkey would sometimes go home with the whole load of water on his own.
Although donkeys perform such useful and trustworthy roles, they are often overburdened which leads to very painful journeys for them. If they stop to rest they are beaten. Sometimes they collapse due to walking too long.
In fact, docile donkeys are often the target of a beating without many reasons for it. So the “owner” when he is frustrated or angry for reasons unrelated to the donkey may resort to hitting the poor animal.
Since donkeys are considered a cheaper animal, they are often undernourished and veterinary care for them is also neglected. When they are too old or too weak to function at expected capacity, they may be left to die.
Their meat is sometimes obtained in very harsh ways, with certain parts of the body being cut off for cooking and processing while the animal is still alive and can feel the pain.
A wild or uninhabited animal of this species is often referred to as a donkey. The wild ass is seriously threatened, in fact endangered, in many of its natural habitats (mostly in desert regions) in Africa, in part due to hunting for meat, skin or body parts.
Hence there is an urgent need for at least some people and organizations to do more specialized work to protect donkeys, donkeys, and mules and prevent people from being cruel to them. Since it has been much neglected work thus far, there is room for very useful work to be done here.
My particular interest in donkeys began when I was an 11-year-old high school student participating in an essay competition organized by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. We were asked to write about an animal that urgently needs empathy and I chose to write on donkeys.
This article won the prestigious award, and school friends and neighbors repeatedly asked me what I wrote about it. Although my little essay was written with all the seriousness a child could summon, as soon as I told the others about it, they burst out laughing.
That is why before I conclude I would like to repeat – please take this plea on behalf of the donkeys very seriously. More than 4 million donkeys and donkeys really need more care and mercy.