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In Memoriam

Megal

In the rainy season (June to September) the roads become slippery and treacherous. Gharry horses fall, scuffing their knees. A bad fall may result in a broken leg.

In Gondar there is no easy way to put a horse with a broken limb out of its misery - people will wait for an injured horse to die, however long it takes.

In the 2002 rainy season, Megal was brought to Kate. The owner hoped that she could cure him. Kate saw that his hind leg was broken, but without specialist equipment, expert treatment and lots of time and money, it's difficult - if not impossible - to save a horse that has a broken femur.

"I sent word to the police to ask them to come and shoot Megal and they agreed to send a policeman," said Kate. " I made it very clear that it was urgent."

Kate spent the night with Megal, making him as comfortable as possible. But he died the next day, before the policeman arrived to dispatch him with a bullet.

In an attempt to cure Megal himself, the owner had cauterized Boola's hip with red-hot metal; sometimes horse owners use the acid from old batteries. These are traditional practices that are extremely cruel for a horse already suffering great pain.

Megal dying after breaking his femur - note the burn marks where the owner treated Megal using a traditional method (cauterizing with a hot iron)
Megal dying after breaking his femur - note the burn marks where the owner treated Megal using a traditional method (cauterizing with a hot iron)

After Megal's death, Kate worked with the Gharry Drivers' Association and the Veterinary Medicine Faculty of Gondar University to run a series of horse management training sessions for gharry drivers in Gondar. Now that Kate has moved to Dib Bahir, she hopes to do similar training sessions in Debark, where there are many working equines.

horse management training attendees receive plastic buckets
horse management training attendees receive plastic buckets

To support Kate's work in educating owners to manage their horses, mules and donkeys better and so alleviate the suffering of these hard-working animals, please make a donation to The Dinkenesh Fund.