For a bullock condemned to work in the sugarcane industry, every day spent struggling to haul heavy loads means backbreaking labour and misery.
Overloaded carts piled high with 2, 3, or even 4 tonnes of sugarcane – often far more than the legal limit – weigh heavily on a bullock’s shoulders as he trudges along rutted roads in the heat of the day. The constant rubbing of the heavy wooden yoke often leads to yoke gall – a painful condition that feels like a giant blister bigger than a football on the back of his neck.
Sometimes the man with the whip will place a spiked cylinder made from sharp, pointed metal or even barbed wire on the yoke. These illegal torture devices dig into the bullock’s skin if he tries to turn his head even slightly. Leather-tipped whips and sticks are used to beat the bullocks if they slow down, regardless of the animals’ injuries, illness, or exhaustion.
Roushya’s days of struggling beneath the burden of a cart loaded with sugarcane finally ended when Animal Rahat persuaded the very first sugar factory to stop using bullocks and switch to tractors. Since his retirement, Animal Rahat’s mechanisation project has flourished, and more than a dozen other sugar factories are now participating.
More than 17,000 bullocks have been replaced with lorries and tractors so far – and some sugar factories are now 100% bullock-free, meaning fewer bullocks will be bred, forced to work, and eventually sent to slaughter, the ultimate fate of most.
Roushya now lives at Animal Rahat’s sprawling sanctuary, where he enjoys daily grooming from his caregivers and spends his time in the company of its other rescued residents.
On behalf of the many bullocks Animal Rahat helps through this vital project, thank you for your compassion and support.