Rescues in the UK

Rescues come in many shapes and sizes, but most donkeys that get relinquished in the UK are elderly or rehomed donkeys whose owners can no longer cope. We also take in donkeys that have been newly castrated, or uncastrated young males that are difficult to handle and therefore unwanted.

In the United Kingdom, the aim is to reach every single donkey by establishing a network of support for donkey handlers and professionals, such as veterinarians and farriers, and educating the public about the value of donkeys and the efficacy of what we do.

A key way to achieve this is to develop our existing UK centres so that they become regional hubs for all of The Donkey Sanctuary’s work.

A day in the life of New Arrivals

New Arrival with groom

The path to rehoming starts from the very moment a donkey or mule comes into our care.

Although not all donkeys and mules that come to live at The Donkey Sanctuary end up being suitable for private homes, we give them each as much attention as they require to help them get their best new start.

Find out more

International rescues

The Donkey Sanctuary’s aim is to be ever more proactive and to reduce the need for ‘rescue’ by improving the welfare of donkeys wherever they live. This includes the requirement for increased collaboration with international organisations as well as educating donkey owners to take care of their animals. The result will be a legacy of good on-the-ground welfare for donkeys everywhere.

Our activities have expanded well beyond the ‘rescue’ model. Across the globe we now provide donkey welfare education, outreach programmes, and donkey-assisted therapy sessions for children and adults with additional needs. We also lobby governments and work with communities and organisations to improve the life of working donkeys.

However, when there is a need for vital rescue work our founding ethos remains the same.

"As long as there are donkeys in need then our sanctuary will be there to help them."

Dr Elisabeth Svendsen, Founder, The Donkey Sanctuary

Have you seen a donkey in distress?

Find out what to do.