We are Helen Cleverton and Becky Godley from Town Barton Farm which is home to 141 mules and hinnies and specialises in care and behaviour training for these highly intelligent and sensitive animals. There was a group of mules at our Sanctuary in Ireland that were moving over to our farm and we were lucky enough to visit them to learn the key points about their individual behaviour training needs. This would make the move much easier for the mules and help us to understand them and build upon the training progress they’ve already made.
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When we post about our international work to improve donkey/mule welfare, there are often people who simply can’t believe how or why the animals end up in the situations that they are in. Some people express real anger towards the owners or handlers of the animals but the reality is that the lives of the people in many areas that we work are also extremely hard as a result of poverty, economic crisis and very poor living conditions.
We often talk about the importance of a providing an environment that allows donkeys to express their natural behaviour and our visitors enjoy watching the relationships between our donkeys and their friends. Whether they are running through the fields, playing with toys or interacting with each other, we love to see donkeys doing what they do. Not only is it entertaining, providing donkeys with the opportunity to behave freely is highly beneficial to their welfare.
Spring is definitely in the air and it’s wonderful to see so many visitors walking around the Sanctuary during the Easter holidays.
How many of you have been driving around and been dazzled fields of Oild Seed Rape (OSR) turning bright yellow? If you’ve visited The Donkey Sanctuary, you certainly will have noticed a patchwork of fields across the valley as you drive up Trow Hill towards the Sanctuary.
Where, previously, only the richest members of these mountain communities could afford a mule, today the mule population has exploded as mules are bought in so that the young men of the villages can find work as muleteers. The mules of the Moroccan High Atlas are therefore very much a product of the mountain tourism industry.