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The Long Haul

In Tanzania, Humane Society International works with local animal welfarists to improve the treatment of working donkeys

It's the end of the dry season, hot and dusty, and in Kahama, a rural district in the African nation of Tanzania, most locals are getting ready to plant their crops in anticipation of the coming rains. It’s a poor area, and people live simply, in mud or brick homes that typically have a single room and a thatched roof. There’s no electricity or running water, and residents use coal-burning stoves to cook their food. Many travel hours daily to sell goods—fruits and vegetables, rice, handicrafts—at distant markets. Few have enough money to easily afford shoes, clothes, or medicine; at the local rice plant, piles of dirt and discarded grains are often sifted through by women hoping to find a few leftover pieces of kernel to feed themselves.

Most locals survive by farming, and for farmers—who not only need to till their fields, but also to transport their crops to markets in order to sell them—there are few more important possessions than a good donkey.

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