Dougal donkey by hares & herdwicks

Hares & Herdwicks

Donkeys are beautiful creatures, though be careful as they can nip, if you get too close! Naturally gentle but very strong, this has unfortunately meant that they are some of the most abused animals on earth, often carrying huge loads in Spain and Middle Eastern countries, with little water, food or rest.  The same happens with all ‘draught animals’ like working horses and camels abroad.

In England, most donkeys we see happily are at donkey sanctuaries, they enjoy a lovely life after being rescued from abuse and neglect. There are several around England, so support them where you can. The Donkey Sanctuary is one of the few ‘big charities’ in England where most money does indeed go on the donkeys, rather than to administration, company cars and unwanted pen gifts. You can report welfare issues for concerns.

The charity offers a Donkey Care Handbook. And also does important work abroad, to help stop the almost 6 million donkeys that are slaughtered each year for their skins, due to the collagen being used in Chinese ‘medicine’.

Another way to help is to avoid donkey rides. It may have been popular years ago, but times have moved on. Although all donkeys on beach rides in England now undergo strict welfare checks (overseen by the Donkey Sanctuary charity), it still remains that it’s a boring life for most of them, and they no doubt would be prefer to be living in open countryside, playing with their children. The obesity epidemic has also seen Donkey Sanctuary introduce strict criteria for the maximum weight of a child being allowed to ride a donkey.

buy a bale of hay for donkey friends!

The Isle of Wight houses a donkey sanctuary where fortunate friends arrive for a life of peace and love, after being rescued from working lives here or abroad. One operated the water wheel for English Heritage and retired here, and likes his own horsebox for travels! Rather than buy lots of ‘stuff’ from the shop, just donate to pay for medical care and a £5 bale of hay!

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