This week, the Sidmouth-based Donkey Sanctuary’s Spanish counterpart have successfully banned donkeys being used at an annual beach festival in Sanlúcar de Barrameda in southern Spain, in which they were being abused by drunken revellers.
El Refugio del Burrito and three other Spanish animal welfare associations united in a moral battle to stop donkeys being used during the Feria de la Manzanilla festival, where party goers were renting the animals illegally from unscrupulous owners, and then riding the donkeys and subjecting them to cruelty and torment throughout the night.
Evidence in the form of photographs and films were presented in April to a council representative for local festivals in Sanlúcar de Barrameda and El Refugio del Burrito was there to highlight the plight of the donkeys and ask for a ban to be introduced. The meeting resulted in the ban of donkeys on the beach and, this year the festival went ahead without the donkeys.
Iván Salvía, El Refugio del Burrito’s general manager who played a key role in this campaign says: “We are so pleased we have been successful in stopping what was a horrific ordeal for the 30 or so donkeys involved in this festival, and that it was made possible by a united collaboration with other animal welfare associations. Now we can try and stop similar cases in Spain, helping to protect many more donkeys in the future."
El Refugio del Burrito is based in Fuente de Piedra and has provided a Sanctuary for life to more than 200 donkeys in Spain. It is part of The Donkey Sanctuary which aims to protect donkeys and mules and promote their welfare needs worldwide.