As Donkey Welfare Advisers we often find ourselves giving advice on how owners can improve the lives of their animals by providing a suitable and enriched environment to allow the donkeys the opportunity and freedom to exhibit natural behaviours. Every now and then, we come across a situation where more immediate action needs to be taken before a suitable solution for both donkeys and owner can be reached. Alan and Hazel are now permanent residents of The Donkey Sanctuary but the story of how they came to us is far darker than you would expect...
Earlier this month I made a trip to Edinburgh to attend the Scottish Government’s Equine Welfare Stakeholder Group Meeting. It was the first time The Donkey Sanctuary had been invited to join the meeting where representatives from welfare organisations, such as the Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA), British Horse Society and World Horse Welfare, were able to discuss issues affecting equines with members of staff from the Scottish Government.
I love my job, I love meeting so many people and their donkeys and am always bowled over by the relationship some owners have with their donkeys. But sometimes there are visits which are sad and emotional when owners contact me and ask me what they should do because their beloved donkey is not him/her self any more.
Her journey began in Bulgaria and was meant to end in an Italian abattoir. Packed into a transporter with 30 other donkeys, no food or water and a five day journey from hell. Such journeys take place daily on the continent for countless donkeys, mules and horses. This particular lorry went via Belgium where a dealer bought the entire load for the then lucrative British market. Not out of compassion, but to make money.