Death… there, I’ve said it, I’ve broken the taboo. To discuss death openly is hard, in fact it hurts. Death is the only certainty of our precious existence, the only path that each of us follows whether we are human, donkey, ant or worm. Death is a sad fact of life and when you work with animals it can sometimes feel overwhelming. For me the only fault that I find with my animal companions is that many of them simply do not live long enough and I so often have to say goodbye.
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Faith Burden's blog
Believe it or not spring is around the corner! After a particularly wet winter we are all looking forward to the grass starting to grow and daylight hours getting longer. Spring is a wonderful time of year and our donkeys and mules enjoy it as much as we do. However, there are hidden dangers in spring and the dreaded words obesity and laminitis often rear their ugly heads at this time of year. It is time to start adjusting feeding regimes, dusting off the electric fencing, condition scoring your donkeys and paying attention to your land.
Donkey milk farming is a growing sector, especially in Eastern and Southern Europe where donkey milk is used as a cow’s milk substitute for allergic infants and is prized as a cosmetic ingredient.
Whilst some donkeys involved in the rapidly expanding dairy industry are well looked after, The Donkey Sanctuary has been repeatedly alerted to farms with poor welfare and hygiene standards.
Donkey milk farming has expanded so rapidly in the 21st century that it has been difficult for our teams throughout Europe to monitor and target welfare standards.
Sarcoids are a type of skin tumour found in up to 12% of equids. All equids can suffer from sarcoids including donkeys, mules, horses, ponies and even zebra. Sarcoids can be very serious in some cases and when sarcoids are particularly aggressive or do not respond to treatment they can lead to the euthanasia of affected donkeys. This sad fact became very personal to me early in my career at The Donkey Sanctuary when I was involved in one of our first projects to understand these devastating tumours.
Sometimes in our busy lives it’s easy to carry on trying to reach a destination without stopping to appreciate the journey that you have already been on. There is always a new goal or target and it’s often these new and exciting adventures and projects in our lives that grab our attention. Working with donkeys is no different! I have been ‘on a journey of enlightenment’ with donkeys and mules for many years. Having always loved long ears I found myself in my dream job here at The Donkey Sanctuary nearly nine years ago.
What’s the best way to be upstaged? Appear alongside Alvis! It’s ok your eyes are deceiving you Elvis has not appeared here in the UK. Alvis is a 24 year old donkey from our donkey assisted therapy centre in Birmingham who I had the pleasure of spending time with this week. Alvis and his friend Cisco were my fantastic assistants (actually I think I was their assistant!) at the launch of The Donkey Sanctuary and TopSpec's new collaborative feed product 'Donkey Forage Balancer'.