The BBC news item about donkeys disturbed me this week.  Besides poaching of elephants tusks, rhino horn and other wild animals, now they are poaching donkeys!  And particularly so in Kenya where there are plenty.  Their skins and body parts are wanted for various purposes in other lands.  Some concerned people are providing refuges for their safety and security – I was surely glad to hear that.  This is what I wrote a few years ago when I saw the heavy workload of donkeys in Kenya where I lived.

Reflections on DONKEYS
December, 2010

Today I saw a donkey pulling a heavy load of water containers. His legs were wobbling, his master was hitting him and he was struggling with the load.

On another day I saw a bloated dead donkey on the side of the dirty busy road in the shopping centre. He was offered to me for a few shillings!

Another time I saw a donkey briskly pulling a cart along the road with the driver standing on the cart talking on his mobile telephone. It was an incongruous sight.
On the very property where I live there was an interesting sight one Christmas. I was driving quietly out the gate when I encountered along the road a delighted looking owner and driver of the cart and donkey. On the cart was piled a newly acquired set of armchairs and sofa. The donkey was labouring along the road while the driver sat comfortably on the sofa with a beaming smile. He was taking home his newest acquisition to the family and the donkey was delivering the Christmas parcel.

Every time I venture outside my house I see donkeys, plenty of them. I see donkeys tied together pulling carts piled high with wood, water, charcoal or furniture. I see donkeys grazing through the rubbish on the roadside. I see pregnant donkeys and I see donkeys with bruised, sometimes lacerated backs and scarred legs.

When I see their masters beating or hitting them to urge them on, I use my car hooter, glare at them, wave my finger or call out to say – ‘stop hitting that donkey.’
Every donkey looks sad and forlorn. I often wonder why. They seem to be such gentle creatures, compliant and obedient without a complaint. Occasionally from my house I hear them braying in the night. Are they objecting to their lot? Are they crying out for mercy?

The Bible stories include donkeys. There’s even a story there about a donkey that talked! Donkeys are featured in pictures of the Christmas story. I wonder did they know that the baby Jesus would grow up to be scorned, mocked, used and abused as they are?

Donkeys deserve more respect and kindness. Animals are dumb creatures which means they cannot speak to us. We humans are to take care of them. When animals are loved and respected harmony can exist between man and beast. One Christian writer said this long ago: “The animals were created to serve man, but he has no right to cause them pain by harsh treatment or cruel exaction…..He who will abuse animals because he has them in his power is both a coward and a tyrant. A disposition to cause pain, whether of our fellow men or to the brute creation, is satanic. Many do not realise that their cruelty will ever be known, because the poor dumb animals cannot reveal it. But could the eyes of these men be opened, as were those of Balaam, they would see an angel of God standing as a witness, to testify against them in the courts above. A record goes up to heaven, and a day is coming when judgement will be pronounced against those who abuse God’s creatures.”

They are intelligent. Sometimes I see donkeys slowly plodding their way home, along the pathways beside the road, around furniture for sale, gas cylinders, stalls of fruit and vegetables and past parked cars and trucks. They are on their own and know the way home. I hope they are greeted well when they get there.

Does anyone hear the cries of the donkeys or of the crying women and children of the world? I suspect God does and maybe He cries too. I’m going to keep speaking up for donkeys and for the hurting people of the world.