Application of the Hands-On Donkey Tool for Assessing the Welfare of Working Equids at Tuliman, Mexico

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
F. Galindo, A. de Aluja, R. Cagigas, L. A. Huerta, T. A. Tadich
Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
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ABSTRACTEquids are still used for diverse chores in Mexico and are essential for the livelihoods of numerous families. Appropriate health and behavior are prerequisites for performing work without affecting welfare. This study aimed to assess the welfare of working equids in Tuliman, applying the hands-on donkey tool. This tool evaluates five dimensions (behavior, body condition score [BCS], wounds, lameness, and other health issues) and was applied to 438 working equids (horses, mules, and donkeys). The Kruskall-Wallis test was applied to investigate differences between species and sex. Donkeys were more common; they also presented more positive behaviors and less lameness (p < 0.05). No differences were found for BCS among species on a scale ranging from 1 to 5 (mean BCS for donkeys = 1.9; mules = 2; and horses = 1.8). Mares had significantly lower BCS (mean = 1.5) than stallions (p < 0.05) and geldings (mean = 1.9). Overall mules had better welfare evaluations. The tool allowed detection of welfare issues in working equids; a practical outcome would be implementing local welfare strategies according to its results.


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