Cultural “Blind Spots,” Social Influence and the Welfare of Working Donkeys in Brick Kilns in Northern India

Specifically focusing on working donkeys in the brick kilns of northern India, the article aims to highlight the lives of the poorest members of Indian society, describing how their culture, inherited knowledge, and status within Indian society influences the care of their working equids.

Despite decades of veterinary and other interventions, welfare issues persist with equids working in brick kilns, and engagement with all stakeholders is integral to creating abiding improvements to working equid welfare.

Equid owners, particularly those in low to middle-income countries, often face issues such as lack of opportunity and/or capacity, gender or socio-economic status, overriding their ability to care well for their own equids, and these ‘blind spots’ are frequently overlooked when organisations develop intervention programmes to improve welfare.

The scientific paper discusses culture, status, religion and social influences, including insights into the complexities of cultural ‘blind spots’, which often complicate efforts by NGOs to improve working donkey welfare when the influence of different cultural and societal pressures are not recognised or acknowledged.

Tamlin L Watson, Laura M Kubasiewicz, Natasha Chamberlain, Caroline Nye, Zoe Raw, Faith A Burden (2020) Cultural “Blind Spots,” Social Influence and the Welfare of Working Donkeys in Brick Kilns in Northern India. Frontiers in Veterinary Science 7:214     https://doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2020.00214

Full article / DOI can be found here.