Blackpool’s famous beach donkeys will be receiving their annual 'MOT' (health check) on Friday 23rd May 2008.
Around 75 donkeys will be checked by welfare and two veterinary experts from the Sidmouth-based Donkey Sanctuary and officials from Blackpool Borough Council, to ensure the donkeys are fit, healthy and licensed to work for the coming holiday season.
The checks commence from 9am at Rigby Road near Blackpool Borough Council’s car park. They include looking at:
- General health of each donkey, including condition of teeth, hooves and coat;
- Scanning the donkeys to check identification microchips;
- Condition of the tack (saddle and bridle).
Molly Lloyd, the Sanctuary’s Regional Welfare Officer explains: “The annual health checks of beach donkeys is a great exercise and complements our new Code of Practice for working donkeys which was launched in April.
The health checks reassure the public of the high standard of donkey care given by the owners and the commitment of local authorities, such as Blackpool Borough Council, towards the welfare of the donkeys and safety of the riders.”
The Code of Practice for working donkeys came into effect on 4th April 2008 and is aimed at all local authorities with beach donkeys under their jurisdiction, to standardise levels of care and welfare throughout the UK.
The code includes recommendations such as:
- Donkeys should work no more than six days a week, with one full day of rest.
- Donkeys should have an hour’s break when working for long periods.
- A maximum weight limit for riders should not exceed eight stone or 51 kg.
The Donkey Sanctuary believes there are almost 850 donkeys working on Britain's beaches each year and works with beach donkey owners and local authorities to ensure donkeys remain happy in their work.