Charity workers have found 39 mules dumped in “dreadful conditions” during a survey of welfare standards at the brick kilns in the Kathmandu valley, Nepal.

Staff from the Animal Health Training and Consultancy Service, a partner of The Brooke, discovered the animals shut in an abandoned kiln on 12 October. Seventeen had already died and four were so weak that they were unable to stand.

A spokesman for Brooke said: “They were in a desperate state; the mangers were empty, there was no trace of water and fresh faeces had signs of internal parasites raging through their debilitated bodies.”

Mules are transported to the region to work in the kilns, transporting bricks. During the off-season, when the weather is bad, they are usually taken back to their original homes. But it appears that in this case, the owner left his animals behind.

Vets have been treating the remaining 22 mules, providing them with food, clean water and veterinary care. They have been wormed and given tetanus vaccinations.

The Brooke managed to trace the owner of the mules. A spokesman said: “He told the team that he was in a financial crisis and was unable to take his equines with him or even provide enough funds to feed them.

“He was eager to stress that as soon as the season started again he could and would provide for them.”

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