Invisible Workers

When Zaibunisa’s husband, the only source of earning for bread and butter of the family died, I visited her for condolence and expressed my sympathetic concern, but her reply made me keep my 32 shuts. “I certainly feel upset, Zebunisa said on the sad demise of my husband, but my earning is not down”. But you don’t have any male in the family to earn for you and your daughters are too small for their age to start earning” I asked.

By Prof Dr Abdullah G Arijo

No issue ada (women usually title ada when they talk to someone not relative in the blood). “Can’t you see my three milking buffaloes, and that donkey with the cart” Yes I can, I replied. I get around 15 litres of milk per time, of that I make butter, lasi, and offer some quantity to my kids and the rest I sell and earn around Rs:1000 per day. And that donkey and cart, I have given to Ada Fazal on rent, and I get Rs: 400 per day, so I don’t see any problem.

Her economic calculations and house management made me silent, and I started thinking about these invisible workers, the animals.

In many communities, animals are sometimes the sole breadwinners of a family. According to a 2015 Brooke’s report, there are 112 million working donkeys, horses, and mules in developing countries supporting 600m people. In Tharparkar alone variety of services are taken from camels, Including their role in agriculture, camel is used as means of transportation one also being camel safari that earns capital for the family

In Pakistan, these ‘invisible workers’ are not only overburdened and underfed, but they are also brutally maltreated. There are very few animal hospitals, vaccination is erratic and hygiene very poor. Many work animals die prematurely of sickness, malnourishment, accidents, neglect, and torture. Besides, sick animals are hardly treated due to ill knowledge that prevails in masses.

Working donkeys, horses and mules make up approximately 112 million of the global livestock population in less developed countries.1 These animals support masses livelihoods in a variety of walks including agriculture, construction, tourism, mining, and public transport. A working horse and donkey approximately earn Rs: 600 per day. These animals are used for domestic and commercial purposes, providing a critical support system to households that rely on them. One pillar of that support system is the money working equine animals generate directly and indirectly, and the savings in expenses that their owners benefit from by using them. However, an incomplete understanding of their role means that working donkeys, horses and mules remain neglected or ignored in relevant global, regional, and national policy and programming, including livestock (Brooks Report)  

This new report (which is part of Brooke’s ongoing policy and research agenda) may be appreciated as it is aimed at increasing knowledge of animal owners with the sole intention of animal and human welfare

Pakistan is blessed with rich livestock fauna, Tharparkar being the richest. There are about 26.98 million heads of a camel in the world, of which 1.2 million are in Pakistan (FAO, 2015). Camel has abundant profit-making status in the livestock sector in Tharparkar. They are mainly used as draft, milk, meat, leathers, and curls as produces. Camel survives generally in the difficult barren area and rugged districts someplace the extended tenure persist of extra animals organizes imaginable, with surprisingly low inputs as the utmost of the phase they glance the trimmings of trees and bushes. Thus, camels contribute knowingly to the food sanctuary of the farmer families in these regions. Camels were grazed on the uncultivated/saline area where mostly halophilic plants like Atriplex or Acacia etc. are grown naturally. Overall the world especially in dry, semi-dry, hilly areas and desert areas the people aiding on a camel. Camel offers milk, meat, furs, fabric, skins and shipping. In many of the areas in the country, the camel is also considered a status symbol. Around about some investigation has been done in nourishment, composition, facsimile and fitness of camel. Nevertheless, the fabrication perspective of the camel has a revealing effort. Camel milk is certainly not esteemed appropriately as its tenet (Younas and Iqbal, 2001). Cholistan rangelands and Thar desert areas are up-to-date husbandry practices that allow camel farming as profitable dairy farming. Camel milk is used up as yoghurt (Abu Ruqaie et al., 1989). A camel plays an important role especially in the Islamic territories of the Middle East. However, they facilitated traders to interchange across the gigantic empires to processions encumbered with possessions. Watering the desert areas/lands camels worked on farms in the fields and turned water out from the well. They conceded belongings concluded the congested metropolitan boulevards. The most vital of all the animals to the out-of-date Muslims was the camel, hence are termed “The Gift of God” then “The Ship of the Desert” (Moktefi and Ageorges 1997).

Camel in desert ecosphere and elsewhere earn and finally, they enable households to save on expenses by transporting families to the market, hospitals, schools and relatives and friends’ homes. This relentless support, all year long, comes at a price and the report highlights the health and welfare implications of being a working equid, and it then considers the values of animal welfare both from an economic and intrinsic perspective. Economically the report argues that a healthy and well cared for an animal will benefit its owner by being able to work more efficiently and remain active for longer.

However, working donkeys, horses and mules are also perceptive beings. They have boundaries and needs which must be considered by policymakers to implement. Surprisingly, in recent years, the welfare of animals is increasingly discussed in the context of food production and it also needs to be considered for working animals alongside other livestock. However, there is a dire need to recognize the value of these invisible workers in terms of living at least with the basic need

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