Asino Felice Italian School for Equine Training
says NO! TO CHAINS
It is a topic often underestimated by those who own donkeys or participate in excursions and promotional activities.
Over the past six years our association has always sided with donkeys against practices that do not respect animals and can cause physical or psychological damage, in recent years our technicians expert in donkey behavior have found themselves faced with numerous cases of imbalances behavioral due to the use of chains in various forms that have caused trauma and phobias that remain for months or years.
Whether it is the application of the nose twisting, the coercive training or the tethers in the chain, these are always practices implemented without thinking about the psychological well-being of the animal.
It is an instrument composed of a stick with a chain on top, it is applied to the upper lip of the donkey or to the ear and is rotated until it crushes the affected part causing severe pain causing the animal to petrify.
This tool is used to carry out health practices on the animal by farriers, veterinarians or owners who do not take the mental health of the donkey to heart, which associates any practice carried out (for example punctures or trimming of the feet) to the severe pain felt and not to the instrument itself, this will lead the animal to develop a real phobia for needles or to lift the feet then developing aggressive defensive behaviors with worsening of the problem.
What can I do?
To remove these traumas, many hours of behavioral re-education are required and the owners must continue some exercises over time and this implies days, months or years before considering the problem solved, so it is better to accustom the animal to lift the feet, get the punctures and administer the wormer from the first moments of stay of the donkey in his new home and if you are not an expert, be followed by a professional.
It is about coercive training the training practices where the human being faces the animal with the energetic arrogance of those who feel they are the strongest through the use of coercion such as for horses the use of bites to increasingly severe levers, close mouths, spurs, return reins, etc., in donkeys instead, halters are used as an instrument of coercion consisting of uprights above the nape completed by chains that pass around the nose and cross under the chin that go to squeeze the muzzle at each request.
The donkey learns the right answer to a particular exercise when there is an immediate cessation of all requests giving a comfortable feeling, which with the halter with chains is not possible since during the request the chains tighten around the muzzle and hardly then they loosen, if not mechanically.
Furthermore, the chains are positioned just above the nostrils and behind the barb (chin), a very sensitive area affected not by hard bone but by cartilages, if it is compressed for a long time as well as preventing the opening of the mouth it partially closes the first ones. respiratory tract adversely affecting the donkey's breathing, especially during physical exertion.
Several studies prove that the horse learns and learns best when it is calm and curious, when it is afraid of something it is unable to learn and tends to:
run away, get scared
entering a state of stress in which it no longer responds to any stimulus
become bossy, aggressive
respond mechanically to requests without understanding what he is doing, in order not to go into pain, without having the possibility of expressing discomfort or proposing new initiatives.
What can I do?
If we really love these beautiful animals we will not be able to help but commit ourselves to know them deeply, we will discover that there are studies on equine behavior that can make us understand how we can apply some natural techniques to accustom our donkey to follow the halter, be medicated, go walking, being ridden, etc., giving up violence, intimidation and coercive tools that only replace our lack of understanding, study and competence.
PASTOIE WITH PASTURE WITHOUT CASE
An archaic practice but still used by some shepherds is to tie the two forelimbs and the head of the donkeys with chains and leave them in the pasture for days without observation by the breeder to prevent the donkey from moving away, running the risk of get stuck with branches or roots causing wounds and lacerations.
What can I do?
In some Italian municipalities this practice is prohibited but if you notice any injuries at the level of the pastorals you are prosecuted by law throughout Italy.
On the other hand, it is not forbidden to graze horses and donkeys for a few minutes during the stops for trekking with padded tethers as long as they are constantly monitored.
Before the excursion the animals must get used to being able to walk and graze with the tethers, if applied in the correct way in fact the animal can move easily without problems grazing the grass, limiting only the fast runs that can cause accidents.
MANAGEMENT IN THE POST OF THE CHAIN
But in some areas it is still allowed, we are against permanent stabling in the post office, where the donkey is forced to live in a stable tied with a chain around his neck without being able to move. This leads to boredom, stereotypical behaviors such as support tics, bear dancing and self-harm, as well as physical health problems.
It is also forbidden by law to tow equidae with cars, tractors and motor vehicles.
In our center we have several animals that, upon their recovery, had wounds and inflammation in the neck due to rubbing which, when healed, caused a discoloration of the hair in correspondence with the chain.
What can I do?
If you become aware of donkeys held in an unsuitable manner, you can present yourself to the competent authorities (carabinieri, asl ..) who will carry out a check.
ABOVE: Horses without custody tethered for days with unsuitable materials that caused lacerations and injuries.
BELOW: horse in custody with padded tethers left for a few minutes during a trekking stop to allow it to graze
We hope this article will help you, you can contact us in the Contact section.