A cross sectional study was conducted on A total of 246 working donkeys from October 2015 to May 2016 with the objectives of assessing the welfare problem and harness related wound in dale district of Sidama Zone. The data were collected using direct (animal-based, using the hand tool) and indirect (owners resource-based, through questionnaire survey) methods. Indirect data was collected on the working management of donkeys whereas direct data was collected through observation of behavior (emotion and energy state), body condition score, wound, lameness and other signs of diseases. The qualitative behavior assessment (QBA) was employed to assess the behavior and communication of donkeys. The overall prevalence of wound occurrence was 43.1% whereas; prevalence of lameness was 22.7%. Majority of donkeys examined for emotional and energy state by QBA showed 39.8% with high-energy state, reflecting poor behavior and communication. The common sites of wound in donkey’s were back sore, tail sore, chest wound, bit, girth and bite. From the total of 246 donkeys working, only 57 (23.1) were using improved harness. The occurrence of wounds was found to be statistically significantly associated with age (P=0.000) and use of improved harness (P=0.002). In conclusion, illiteracy and not using of improved harness contributed to the compromised welfare. Therefore, there should be massive awareness creation on animal welfare, sentient being and health management. There should be also significant endeavor at multiple stages; community, local service providers and policy level to improve the welfare statue of working donkeys in the area in particular and in the country in general.
Key words: Dale District, harness, welfare problems, working donkey, wound.
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