Pakistan's coal mine donkeys

Brooke has uncovered the plight of thousands of donkeys working in coal mines in the Chakwal District of Pakistan.


Five thousand feet inside the Salt Range Mountains in Pakistan it's hot, dusty and too dark to see. Out of the gloom comes a desperately weary donkey. This is Sudher. His days are filled with toil and torment, carrying heavy sacks of coal out of the mines.

The mine entrance is a five foot by five foot hole in the side of the mountain. Sudher has to lower his head as he is led into the tunnel. Inside, the path quickly becomes narrower and steeper, with jagged rocks at every turn. The air is hot and thick with choking coal dust.

Donkeys entering a coal mine in Pakistan

There are no high-tech machines to extract coal here, only desperately poor miners and their donkeys. They work for hours in dangerous conditions to earn enough to feed their families - just £1.50 a day.

Sudher's owner, Mr Razaq, told us that recently his donkey stumbled badly while trying to pass other donkeys in a narrow tunnel. Sudher lost his footing and fell against the rough wall. His thigh began to bleed profusely - a sharp stone jutting out of the wall had gouged a deep wound in his side. Mr Razaq tried his best to treat the wound but without medicines, bandages or a knowledge of first aid, the wound would soon become infected. Poor Sudher was distressed and in pain but there were no vets nearby to help.

I spent time showing Mr Razaq exactly how to clean and dress the wound to ensure a full recovery. Sudher also needed antibiotics, ointments and an anti-tetanus injection.

Dr Rab Nawaz, Brooke vet

What's happening now

Brooke's mobile vet clinic travelled to the coal mine region, assessed Sudher and reported that his injury was serious.

It cost just £4 to treat Sudher's injury and relieve his suffering. But there are thousands more donkeys suffering in the dark with no-one to help them. You can save donkeys like Sudher from so much needless pain by giving a gift of £4 a month. Each month you can give them:

  • 18p for saddle care and repair
  • £1.75 for a first aid kit
  • £2.07 for painkillers

With a monthly gift, Brooke vets can also prevent suffering - eight out of 10 cases are entirely preventable if we can reach owners like Mr Razaq and show them better ways to work with their animal. We also help owners understand that to keep their donkey happy and healthy, they must give them lighter loads, regular water, good food and rest.

Four donkeys and their owner working a coal mine in Pakistan