|It is still common in Afghanistan to see donkeys with slit nostrils – a very painful practice which is crudely accomplished using knives, scissors or other sharp objects without anesthesia. Slitting is done in the mistaken belief that it improves the airflow into the nose and hence is better for the donkeys when they are working hard in the thin air of the mountains. In rare cases the team also saw donkeys with slit ears. Apparently some people believe that donkey blood can treat bad burns.
In Afghan villages where there are traditional healers, in-country Brooke teams, supported by donations through Brooke USA, have been working closely with them, as well as the community itself, to stamp out these practices. In all eight of the Brooke-supported villages recently visited by outside Brooke teams, only a few donkeys still had slit nostrils. All of the villagers interviewed were excited to point out that they no longer practiced this and that the donkeys with slit nostrils and ears were older and had the mutilation done in the distant past.
None of the younger animals seen in those eight villages had their nostrils or ears slit.