Animal Welfare
At QUECHUANDES we consider animal welfare extremely important. We have the greatest respect for the donkeys that work for us and make sure that they are well treated, fed and not overloaded. The maximum load of a donkey is 40 kg. Unfortunately some agencies choose to load their donkeys up to 70 kg! This of course results in exhaustion, injuries and death.
Above are some photos of injured donkeys that were sent to us by some French tourists (the wounds are purple because antiseptic was applied to them by a local woman in Vaqueria). These donkeys were working on the Santa Cruz trek for a popular agency from Huaraz. Some people argue that the responsibility of the donkeys welfare lies with the muleteers, but at QUECHUANDES we would argue that this is a highly limited view, since muleteers depend on an agency to give them work in order to survive. In the case of the agency involved in this story, for a muleteer to refuse working with them assures only one thing: that they will not get enough work. This is why muleteers put their donkeys through horrible working conditions. Ultimately I believe that it is the agency which has the power to decide whether they want to overload their donkeys or not, and as such it is their responsibility not to overload them. Also, the muleteers and donkeys are contracted in advance, and muleteers have no knowledge of how much the total group load amounts to. By the time the group and load reaches the trailhead it is often too late to get more donkeys even if they wanted to.
Please while booking a trip, do not only consider the price but also think about how the staff and animals are treated.
In order to make sure that our donkeys are not overloaded, we ask you to please respect your weight allowance.