ITHACA – The Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine will host the fourth annual Donkey Welfare Symposium, Sept. 30 through Oct. 2 on the University’s Ithaca campus. The symposium is part of a global effort to recognize the continuing importance of the donkey to mankind, and to raise awareness of its unique health and nutritional needs.
Although both are equines, donkeys differ from horses in ways that affect their medical care and management. The event offers two tracks, one geared to veterinary professionals and the other to non-medical donkey enthusiasts, but all activities are open to all attendees.
“We saw a need for educational outreach to veterinarians, veterinary students and owners,” said symposium organizer Dr. Erin Goodrich. “Donkeys have provided services to humanity throughout the world for a very long time. It’s time to raise awareness of their utility among the veterinary community and beyond.”
Speakers will include internationally recognized donkey expert Dr. Eric Davis of UC Davis; Dr João Rodrigues, an expert in veterinary dentistry and maxillofacial surgery specializing in donkey dentistry, and author Cate Folsom, who wrote Smoke the Donkey: A Marine’s Unlikely Friend. Folsom’s book describes how a small donkey raised the morale of soldiers on a military base near Fallujah during some of the worst fighting in the Iraq war.
The track for veterinarians and veterinary technicians features sessions on donkey restraint for examinations, hoof care, nutrition and pain management. The track for non-medical participants includes sessions on donkey health and behavior and hands-on demonstrations of donkey handling and training. There will be lectures about current donkey health and welfare concerns around the world, as well. Registrants may attend any session in either track.
The symposium will wrap up with a Donkey Adoption Event, featuring animals from Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue. It will be held Sunday, Oct. 2 from 1:30 to 3:30 at the Livestock Pavilion on the Cornell campus.