Amy McLean gains perspective on U.S. equine care by working overseas | TSLN.com

Amy McLean gains perspective on U.S. equine care by working overseas

Whether donkeys struggling to take goods to markets in Mali or high performance horses in the U.S., the University of Wyoming equine specialist has found similar maladies.

Amy McLean was the sole person from the U.S. and the only representative of a U.S. university presenting research at the 6th International Colloquium on Working Equids in New Delhi, India, in December.

She presented results of her studies examining training methods and working conditions of donkeys in Mali, but said she’s also gained perspective while traveling and working with equine owners in India and Africa.

“The first time I went to Mali, I was so concerned about what I was going to see, the condition of the animals, I thought I’d be heartbroken, scarred for life,” McLean related. “Actually, I’ve seen more inhumanity toward horses here in the U.S. in displays of ignorance and poor welfare. That so enlightens me to provide more information and be more involved with responsible horse owners here in the U.S.”

Donkeys are used in Mali to haul commodities – and people – to markets. Most are rented by drivers who have limited time to get goods to markets. The donkeys have many lesions from poor-fitting harnesses, suffer from dehydration, are emaciated and overworked.

“A lot of the problems we see in working equines there are the same problems we see in the elite show horses or performance horses in the U.S. – lameness, how to improve their performance – just on a different level,” she noted.

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Treatments may be the same, but “with an elite or performance animal, generally, money is not much of an issue,” she said. “When you are dealing with someone making $1 a day, you have to go about things differently.”

The colloquiums bring together those interested in the welfare of working equids from the social, human and animal aspects, said McLean, who began as a lecturer in the Department of Animal Science in 2009. Many of those attending represent charities or non-governmental organizations, and all are based in the United Kingdom.

McLean’s research is in collaboration with the Society for Protection of Animals Abroad. Members set up veterinary hospitals and provide free vet care in developing countries. She joined veterinarians at the mobile clinics to treat equines and educate owners how to better care for their animals. While in India, she taught at a high school and college.

Whether donkeys struggling to take goods to markets in Mali or high performance horses in the U.S., the University of Wyoming equine specialist has found similar maladies.

Amy McLean was the sole person from the U.S. and the only representative of a U.S. university presenting research at the 6th International Colloquium on Working Equids in New Delhi, India, in December.

She presented results of her studies examining training methods and working conditions of donkeys in Mali, but said she’s also gained perspective while traveling and working with equine owners in India and Africa.

“The first time I went to Mali, I was so concerned about what I was going to see, the condition of the animals, I thought I’d be heartbroken, scarred for life,” McLean related. “Actually, I’ve seen more inhumanity toward horses here in the U.S. in displays of ignorance and poor welfare. That so enlightens me to provide more information and be more involved with responsible horse owners here in the U.S.”

Donkeys are used in Mali to haul commodities – and people – to markets. Most are rented by drivers who have limited time to get goods to markets. The donkeys have many lesions from poor-fitting harnesses, suffer from dehydration, are emaciated and overworked.

“A lot of the problems we see in working equines there are the same problems we see in the elite show horses or performance horses in the U.S. – lameness, how to improve their performance – just on a different level,” she noted.

Treatments may be the same, but “with an elite or performance animal, generally, money is not much of an issue,” she said. “When you are dealing with someone making $1 a day, you have to go about things differently.”

The colloquiums bring together those interested in the welfare of working equids from the social, human and animal aspects, said McLean, who began as a lecturer in the Department of Animal Science in 2009. Many of those attending represent charities or non-governmental organizations, and all are based in the United Kingdom.

McLean’s research is in collaboration with the Society for Protection of Animals Abroad. Members set up veterinary hospitals and provide free vet care in developing countries. She joined veterinarians at the mobile clinics to treat equines and educate owners how to better care for their animals. While in India, she taught at a high school and college.

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