2011 saw the steepest rise in the number of donkeys needing sanctuary in the UK in our history, with nearly three times as many new arrivals than usual. A particular hotspot has been Northern Ireland, where homing and caring for abandoned donkeys has been a constant and heartrending challenge. Regional Welfare Officer Allen Andrews reported: “It’s been a dire situation for donkeys and horses. Unfortunately their market value has plummeted and instead of owners keeping hold of them, they just abandon them on the road. It’s charities like us that are picking up the pieces and unfortunately the trend is expected to continue this year.”
We have also been involved in urgent rescue cases in Northern Ireland. In November, with the Police Service of Northern Ireland and Crosskennan Lane Animal Sanctuary, we helped rescue ten donkeys and sixteen horses from appalling conditions in County Antrim. Allen said: “These poor animals had been shut in, in squalid conditions without food or water and left knee deep in their own excrement. Sadly the rescue effort came too late for some of them, and the surviving donkeys and horses were the most emaciated I have ever seen.”
Fortunately for these donkeys and many more like them throughout Europe, we were on hand to take them into our care. We currently have over 7,500 donkeys living under our protection and the number rises almost daily. Each provided with a Sanctuary for life; and all made possible by you, our supporters.