A year-long investigation to determine the welfare standards of donkeys associated with the European donkey milk industry is to be discussed this week at a meeting composed of 12 animal welfare groups that operate across Europe.
The report, supported by The Donkey Sanctuary, has been produced by Dr Michela Minero with a team from the University of Milan and will be presented at a meeting hosted by the charity’s Italian operation, Il Rifugio degli Asinelli.
Faith Burden, Head of Policy and Development at The Donkey Sanctuary, said: “Research for this investigation took place in Italy, where a significant proportion of the European donkey milk industry operates. The report looks at the current situation regarding donkey milk production and provides an overview of EU regulation of donkey milk farming and the effects of animal welfare legislation within Italy.
“In collaboration with the University of Milan, we will be presenting the report at this week’s meeting of the Eurogroup Equine Working Group. We look forward to using the outcomes of this report to create guidelines that promote and share best practices across the industry.”
The study also carried out welfare assessments of donkeys associated within the dairy industry, which includes lactating jennies, foals, non-milk producing donkeys and breeding stallions. Welfare standards at the 12 farms which participated voluntarily in the investigation were found to be generally good and the guidelines will seek to assist the industry towards self-regulation and constant improvement of welfare conditions for the animals in its care.