The Donkey Sanctuary lobbies governments and works with communities and organisations to improve the life of working donkeys around the world.

The Donkey Sanctuary came into being when its founder, Dr Elisabeth Svendsen, was left a legacy of 204 donkeys in a friend’s will. Several decades later, the popular perception of the organisation is that it exists to rescue donkeys in distress.

While this is true, our activities have expanded well beyond the ‘rescue’ model. Across the globe we now provide donkey welfare education, outreach programmes, and donkey-assisted therapy sessions for children and adults with additional needs. We also lobby governments and work with communities and organisations to improve the life of working donkeys.

However, there is clearly need for vital rescue work to continue, and through our international sanctuaries and global partners the charity's original ethos remains.

For example, when a good Samaritan in Spain discovered a neglected donkey who could barely walk, there was a team of people ready to spring into action.

The Donkey Sanctuary's Spanish rescue centre, El Refugio del Burrito, was alerted to the plight of the stricken donkey who they now know as Jasmin - thought to have been abandoned and roaming for 13 years.

Rosa Chaparro, from El Refugio del Burrito, said: "When we found her, we couldn't believe our eyes - we have never had such a case."

Jasmin was taken to the sanctuary, and following x-rays to ensure that her bones were OK, the expert farrier spent two hours trimming her hooves.

Thanks to one passer-by Jasmin's life has changed for the better and she enjoys a life of sanctuary together with 300 other Spanish donkeys rescued from abandonment or cruelty.

"As long as there are donkeys in need then our sanctuary will be there to help them."

Dr Elisabeth Svendsen, founder, The Donkey Sanctuary

Going forward

The Donkey Sanctuary’s aim is to be ever more proactive and to reduce the need for ‘rescue’ by improving the welfare of donkeys wherever they live.

This includes the requirement for increased collaboration with international organisations as well as educating donkey owners to take care of their animals. The result will be a legacy of good on-the-ground welfare for donkeys everywhere.

Help us be there when donkeys need rescuing

Donate today to support our work