This document represents chapter 12 of "Current Donkey Production & Functionality. Relationships with Humans.Book 1." It gives a broad summary of donkey production, husbandry and managing systems, and it deals with a wide range of aspects like breeds and breeding, veterinary care and welfare concerns, domestication,conservation and genetic resources. It also lokks at threats and constraints and how these could be met.
According to the FAO, there are around 300 million working animals worldwide. They play a fundamental role in human livelihoods through their contribution to financial, human and social capital, supporting between 300 and 600 million people globally, particularly in poorer areas, where animal energy represents a huge and extremely important sustainable power resource.Yet its recognition remains neglected in many programs of cooperation to development, with animal traction being largely ignored by decision and policy makers and even by civil society at all levels, which compromises a real development of this technology as well as animal welfare. On the other hand, a collective ecological and economical consciousness and an increasing awareness of public opinion about the need to reduce the excessive industrialization and mechanization of agriculture and forestry has led some sectors of society to consider the (re)use of animal traction as a valid modern source of energy. Indeed, working animals optimally transform the consumed biomass in energy and natural fertilizer, which avoids soil degradation and contributes to a sustainable management of arable lands, forests and sensitive areas. The need to maintain biodiversity, reduce carbon emissions, encourage self-reliance and reduce consumption of resources also contributes to this trend.
Draught animal power has been defined as the "forgotten renewable" or as "the underdeveloped development tool".
Forgotten and underdeveloped this source of energy can't express all its potential probably because the decision makers, NGO's, international organizations and national authorities are not informed on how animal traction is widespread in remote villages.
The aim of the survey launched at www.wedap.eu/survey01.html is to supply data to the decision makers on how draught animal power can be a very useful intermediate technology between manual labor and mechanization.
All those who have appropriate information are kindly requested to fill in the 4 pages form of the survey.
Some more information of a cost benefit analysis on the use of draught animal power can be found in document http://www.wedap.eu/d/abc2015.pdf presented at the Asian Buffalo Congress held in Istanbul April 21-25, 2015.
A short presentation of the matter is available also in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFJKJkZpsdc