On January 3, the Local Police conducted a raid in Badajoz to seize five horses and a mule that were in famished conditions in the hands of a caravan of Portuguese nomadic group engaged in the illegal trafficking of animals and collection and sale of scrap metal. «They come from Portugal and they deal with equines in Extremadura (Spain). Every year is the same story "says Carlos Rosa, a veterinarian who runs the clinic that took care of the animals for one month before the animals could travel.
Among them was the mule Paquita, who, despite her age and her limp, now resides happily in our Sanctuary. Only in a month has regained weight and you can see her improvements, although the psychological damage will take longer to disappear. "When she got into the Sanctuary, our Vet tried to check her, but it was impossible because of the fear she had, she has urinated on herself up to three times and she was shaking, she clearly looked stressed, so we have decided to leave her space and we will give her the time she needs until she becomes familiar with us and feel comfortable, " says Coral Ruiz, Head of Animal Welfare of El Refugio del Burrito.
In the initial veterinary report, it states that the animal has her teeth in a very bad state, needing an urgent dental filing and possible extraction of some dental piece. It presents a body state 1.5 on a scale of 1-5. She also has joint pain in the hind limbs, possibly derived from osteoarthritis and the overweight she was carrying.
With a recovery and palliative treatment for osteoarthritis, the quality of life of Paquita can be good. Right now he is under urgent treatment with anti-inflammatories, radiological evaluation and pending that our equine dentist treats her mouth. We also have it on a high caloric diet and vitamin-mineral complex.
26 animals in total were involved in the illegal camp. When the animals do not serve them because they are older or sick, they abandon them. This is how we found the oldie donkey Candy, with his 27 years roaming free in a national road.
“All the animals seized were found with an important degree of cachexia and with open wounds caused by inappropriate harnesses, their extreme thinness and the excessive weight of the carts they pull, which was around 450 to 500 kg" Verónica Sanchez tells us, Director of El Refugio del Burrito.
The animals do not have access to any type of water or supplemented food only what they find in the field, which breaks the basic of responsible animal ownership. The majority of animals show an important degree of dehydration and starvation since they do not have water in the area where they live. Because of this fact, the animals run free looking for food, being a repeated situation, every time they come to Badajoz there is some problem with the animals and they are found loose on the roads or dead, which represents a case of animal mistreatment and compromise the safety of citizens on the road.
Sanitary hygienic conditions are also absent since these animals are not dewormed or receive any type of veterinary care, even if they get sick.
"This case of animal abuse is the direct consequence of a problem of social exclusion, the people who form those camps do not have resources or properties and culturally is their way of living, they are nomads, they survive on the margin of legality. They go from place to place looking for sustenance and scrap. They buy, change and sell animals to make a living. In the end, as always, those who pay for social inequalities are the most vulnerable, animals and children. We hope that the competent authorities in Portugal will do something to help these people, integrate them into society and that they can earn a living in a legal way, that their children go to school and break the circle of poverty that causes this terrible animal abuse "says Rosa Chaparro, Social Economist and Responsible for Sustainability at Refugio del Burrito.
From El Refugio del Burrito, we hope some social inclusion policies get in place for these people, and we thank and recognise the work of the authorities in Spain. In particular Local Police, Townhall from Badajoz and Seprona, which filled their duties in this case and applied the law, safeguarding the welfare of the animals. A big example for other town halls to follow.