While on your holiday, be a responsible tourist and put yourself ‘In Their Hooves.’

Donkeys and mules are put to work in tourism all over the world, whether used as taxis, for treks or to carry luggage. While The Donkey Sanctuary does not actively promote the use of donkeys and mules in any form of tourism we do understand their importance in helping thousands of people to earn a living.

Donkeys naturally avoid showing distress, meaning it isn’t always easy to see they are suffering. As a result people often take advantage of donkeys’ hardworking traits, and at times they can be overworked, overloaded or even beaten.

We have partnered with CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) in asking tourists to put themselves ‘in their hooves’, and to question how they would feel working under the same conditions.

Donkeys and mules working in the tourism industry deserve to be treated ethically and have their basic welfare needs met.

If you are considering using a working donkey on holiday, first ask yourself:

1. Water

Do the animals have fresh water available and accessible? How would you feel walking long distances without anything to drink all day?

In Their Hooves shelter

2. Shelter

Is there shelter to protect the animals from the sun or rain while they are resting? How would you feel standing around in the heat or rain all day?

3. Owner behaviour

Is the owner or handler physically mistreating the animals? How would you feel not being treated with care and respect?

4. Wounds

Are the animals free of any open wounds, or signs of injury? Is the equipment such as the saddle, harness or head collar causing harm? How would you feel walking in pain with ill-fitting shoes or uncomfortable equipment?

In Their Hooves still weight

5. Weight

Are the animals being asked to carry an acceptable weight? How would you feel carrying a heavy load?

Put yourself ‘in their hooves’ – how would you feel working under the same conditions?

If you have doubts about any of these questions and still use a donkey then you could be contributing to the animal’s suffering.

Like all animals, donkeys deserve to be respected and cared for and to live a life free from suffering and pain. You can help towards this by putting yourself 'in their hooves', and spreading the word to others by sharing this video.

Enjoy your holidays this summer, and remember to put yourself ‘in their hooves’.