Researchers behind a newly published study have identified the behavior changes donkeys show when they’re relieved from pain. The research, funded by international equine welfare charity the Brooke and conducted by the Brooke Pakistan and the University of Bristol, is designed to help improve welfare for animals across the world.

More than 40 million donkeys work in extreme conditions around the world every day, supporting the livelihoods of millions of people.

The researchers on the recent study aimed to record behavior displayed by donkeys when they are in pain. Then, the researchers gave a single dose of proprietary oral anti-inflammatory drug to 20 donkeys suffering from common medical conditions including poor hoof quality, wounds, and lameness. Twenty other donkeys suffering from a similar range of medical conditions received a placebo (a honey and water solution).

Before receiving either the medication or placebo, the donkeys showed a variety of different behaviors, including closing their eyes for lengthy periods, dozing on their feet, and lowering their heads. Subsequently, the group that received the medication showed a decrease in these behaviors and increased alertness.

[image imageid="4340" includeTitle="false" includeSummary="false"]Painful donkeys showed a variety of different behaviors, including closing their eyes for lengthy periods, dozing on their feet, and lowering their heads.[/image]

The Brooke hopes to use the study’s findings to educate staff working in field programs to more effectively help working donkeys, and also to enable them to train owners to recognize when