Everything we do at The Donkey Sanctuary is driven by our goal of improving the welfare of donkeys and mules globally. The use of data is fundamental in achieving this goal, as it is data that helps us to make informed decisions that can drive success and deliver impact.

Whatever your work or your interests, you have probably come across a story in the last few years about how “data” is changing our world. Data is just another word for information and here at The Donkey Sanctuary we understand the importance of utilising “donkey” data for delivering improved welfare globally. This includes how we collect, analyse, use and disseminate donkey focussed data across out teams and partners, facilitating informed decision making.

Donkey data comes in many different shapes and forms at The Donkey Sanctuary, but we can generally classify this into data on our herd and guardian donkeys here in the UK, Ireland and Europe, and data on the global donkey and mule populations and in particular, the projects we are supporting.

Herd data includes personal information on our donkeys, such as name, age, and gender, as well as medical information and history (i.e. the reason they came to us). We are investigating ways to improve our herd data collection such as using mobile devices for medical data entry at the point of contact, therefore reducing errors and increasing efficiency.

We analyse and use herd data to help understand the health status of our animals and also to inform our operational decisions. An example of this is the analysis of data to help prevent the spread of disease.

Global donkey and mule data can include information collected by third parties (such as population estimates from the FAO), welfare data we or our partners collect within a project or any other information that is useful to The Donkey Sanctuary when making decisions. We collect this global data in multiple ways and are always looking to use modern analysis techniques (e.g. machine learning) to help drive innovation. With sources as varied as satellite remote sensing, government census or direct animal welfare assessments (such as our EARS welfare assessment), we are building a unique data set that delivers actionable results.

Data is an ever present part of life in the 21st Century, and here at The Donkey Sanctuary we are dedicated to using data to help improve the welfare of donkeys and mules globally.