American Forces Press Service
April 8, 2008 - An industrial complex in Iraq has quadrupled its employment and productivity over the last three months, and a team from Multinational Division Center is helping the companies keep their labor force healthy. Army Capt. Rory Carolan, a veterinarian from Maryland, and soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division's 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, treated more than 250 donkeys recently that will be used in the absence of motorized vehicles at the Narhwan Brick Factory Complex.
Healthy donkeys were needed for the increase in hauling and to support production.
Army Lt. Col. Bruce Baker, an economist with the civil affairs team, G9, 3rd Infantry Division, who led the initiative, realized that healthy donkeys were needed after heavy fuel oil became available to fire the kilns and bring the brick factory complex to full operating capacity.
After coalition forces engaged the Iraqi Energy Ministry on behalf of business owners at the complex to deliver heavy fuel oil, employment rose from 3,500 to 15,000. The donkeys became essential to haul straw and mud, as well as the newly-formed bricks. The challenge for Baker was to get the mostly malnourished donkeys able to keep up with the work the newly available oil was going to make.
Carolan, senior veterinarian and agriculture adviser with the civil affairs team, G9, 3rd Infantry Division, specializes in treating equine species – horses, ponies and donkeys. After a briefing from Baker, Carolan traveled to Narhwan to hold the clinic.
"This Narhwan clinic was unique, given the number of donkeys to be examined and treated," he said. "Many of the donkeys were malnourished and obviously mistreated. Some suffered from pressure sores, hematomas and neglect. Some collapsed of exhaustion and died before our eyes.
"Others were well-cared-for, well-fed and well-groomed by owners who respected their worth," he said.
Carolan, with the help of soldiers from 1-10th FA, examined, wormed, measured and weighed the donkeys. More donkeys by the hundreds are waiting to be treated in follow-on clinics.
"The vet clinic was the right thing to do before an increased volume of brick orders kicked in," Carolan said. "In our clinic, we were able to examine and treat donkeys in need of care. We were able to encourage owners giving excellent care to their donkeys. We were able to teach the best way of care and feeding donkeys.
"That is where we can have the most impact, teaching the owners how to properly feed and care for the animals," he continued. "Higher production at the factories will be achieved with the improved standards of care employed."
(From a Multinational Division Center news release.)