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Animal welfare science Dr Dolittle style!

Just like Dr Dolittle, I bet you talk to your animals and some of you may say your animals talk right back! Many of our fabulous staff and volunteers at The Sanctuary can be heard deep in conversation with their donkey friends – who are very good listeners! Up until a few years ago researchers would say such behaviour had no place in science. However, animal welfare science has come on in leaps and bounds in the last couple of decades and it is now accepted that, in order to find out what an animal likes and dislikes, one just has to ask. And how do we do this?

Donkey in barn

Special care to get Spanish foal suckling

The Donkey Sanctuary’s team in Spain is currently taking special care of a newborn foal who is starting life with a struggle.

Indiana was born under the care of El Refugio Del Burrito last week and has found it difficult to suckle. His mother, Strawberry, was abandoned into the Sanctuary’s care while she was pregnant, along with another donkey called Cacahuete.

Indiana was very weak and could not feed from his mother by himself, so the team took them both to an equine hospital in Cordoba which has an equine neonatal unit.

Indiana recovering in hospital

Saving Sally from squalor

Sally, the mule, is now living at our Town Barton Farm, where she is free to relax, play and roam safely in the company of her new friend Pilgrim. Sadly life had not always been this way for Sally.

When I first met her, she was living in what can only be described as squalor, she was stood in thick mud, with no food, water or clean resting area. The environment she roamed in was full of hazards which could have caused her serious injury.

Sally in the care of The Donkey Sanctuary

Teamwork and traffic jams to rescue Alfie and Jemima

Lifelong friends Alfie and Jemima, came into our care following a joint operation involving Derbyshire police, the RSPCA, World Horse Welfare and Bransby Horses.

Unfortunately their owners had failed to act upon the advice and guidance given to them by welfare agencies and with the situation worsening, a more direct approach needed to be taken.

Jemima and Alfie


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