The Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney has received an independent report on matters relating to donkey welfare in Ireland.
The report, launched at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin, links the uncontrolled eligibility of donkeys for subsidy payments granted for ‘Areas of Natural Constraint’ (ANC) with potentially driving a market for indiscriminate breeding.
The report was commissioned by The Donkey Sanctuary in response to the increase in abandonments being dealt with by the charity in recent years. During 2014, 400 donkeys were admitted into the care of the charity’s Cork Sanctuary and, with 366 donkeys already admitted between January and the end of August 2015, the trend shows no sign of declining. The majority of these abandonments are young males - the cost of castrating and microchipping a donkey or mule colt is often considered greater than the profit a breeder might make selling excess stock.
Andy Foxcroft, Director of Care and Welfare for The Donkey Sanctuary, says: “Breeding and keeping of donkeys in Ireland is unregulated and until recent times has been viewed as a profitable enterprise; however, the market quickly collapsed during the period of economic depression in Ireland. The results of this study will be used to develop the charity’s operational strategy for future years in Ireland, meaning The Donkey Sanctuary can best reach donkeys in need of care and owners in need of support.”