The Donkey Sanctuary is a large and complex charity with a wealth of experience and skills enabling us to help donkeys and mules around the world. Meet some of our key people.

Mike Baker

Mike Baker - Chief Executive Officer

Mike was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of The Donkey Sanctuary in May 2016, continuing a long and distinguished career associated with the animal welfare sector.

With a lifelong passion for animal welfare, Mike has worked at the highest level with animal charities for over 20 years, including World Animal Protection, The Brooke and the International Fund for Animal Welfare UK (IFAW).

Linda Edwards with donkey

Linda Edwards - Executive Director of Operations

Linda joined the Donkey Sanctuary as Executive Director of Operations in October 2017; as a multi-disciplinary leader she has over 15 years humanitarian, development and management experience gained while living and working across Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Pacific Asia.

Her roles have included regional director for Asia Pacific for an international social business and several country director roles. She has managed teams upwards of 1,000, raising multi-millions in funds and developing new systems to promote efficiency. Her most recent position was as CEO for a charity focused on programmes in Africa.

An animal lover, Linda has two Congolese street dogs, Binti and Kuku.

Faith Burden

Faith Burden - Director, Research & Operational Support

Faith has worked for The Donkey Sanctuary since 2004 and has expanded and developed research programmes and technical support services. The author of over 50 peer-reviewed articles, she is a globally recognised expert on the health and welfare of donkeys and mules. She leads our research and operational support team which provides technical guidance and support to donkeys globally, and works to increase our knowledge of these wonderful animals.

Faith has a PhD in infectious diseases, and has been responsible for revolutionising the way in which our donkeys are managed. She has worked with commercial feed companies to design and produce donkey-friendly products, and alongside care providers to implement positive changes based on cutting edge science.

Annie Brown

Annie Brown - Director, Rescue & Rehoming

Annie is responsible for the care and welfare of approximately 7,000 donkeys and mules across our sanctuaries, emergency holding bases and through our rehoming scheme in the UK, Ireland and many parts of Europe.

She has been involved with The Donkey Sanctuary since 1991, working in the accounts and welfare departments, developing and running the Training Centre and teaching staff and prospective Donkey Guardians about donkey care.

Since 2001 Annie looked after all the UK farms and is now responsible for our entire rescue and rehoming operations.

Kevin Brown

Kevin Brown - Assistant to Programmes Director

Kevin joined the International Department of The Donkey Sanctuary in October 2013, and is currently responsible for international work in over 30 countries, supporting projects that improve the welfare of donkeys and mules and the livelihoods of the people that own or work them.

Brought up in South East Asia, Kevin studied Biology in England and researched his PhD in the deserts of Oman. He stayed in academia for five years managing international rural development projects, leaving to become a student again, in veterinary medicine. As a vet, he spent six months in Haiti managing an international disaster relief project for animals after the catastrophic earthquake in 2010. Joining The Donkey Sanctuary, his job combines his international and veterinary experience.

Hannah Bryer

Hannah Bryer - Head of Welfare

Hannah was appointed as head of the Welfare Department in October 2017. Previously, she was the senior donkey welfare adviser, a role which she started in April 2015. She leads and supports our dedicated team of welfare advisers who work across England, Scotland and Wales to improve the welfare of donkeys and mules in our communities.

Hannah holds a degree in Equine Science and has really enjoyed getting to work more closely with donkeys. Hannah has previously worked in animal welfare and her experience in this field is of particular benefit when working to resolve situations where the welfare of donkeys and mules are compromised.

Alex Mayers

Alex Mayers - Head of Programmes

Alex has worked with The Donkey Sanctuary’s global teams since 2014, now leading special programmes to tackle welfare issues around the world. Before moving into this role, Alex focused on community and education projects and has worked directly with partners on the ground in over 20 countries, especially when leading on grant-funded work across Africa. One of his current areas of focus is the donkey skin trade which has horrific consequences for donkey welfare but also has implications for human development, wildlife crime, environmental degradation and more.

Before joining charity, Alex led various projects around the world including a major teacher development project in Borneo with the British Council and Malaysian Ministry of Education.

    Simon Pope

    Simon Pope - Rapid Response and Campaigns Manager

    Simon joined The Donkey Sanctuary in 2016, bringing a wealth of international animal welfare charity experience to his role, which involves managing the organisation’s communications for its rapid response projects and campaigns. These include emergency relief initiatives for animals and people affected by natural and man-made disasters, and campaigns such as Under the Skin, which tackles the unsustainable trade in donkey skins for China’s ejiao production.

    Ben Hart

    Ben Hart - Senior Lead, Behaviour

    Ben now leads the organisation in the understanding and implementation of scientific principles of equine behaviour and human behaviour change for animal welfare. Having been part of the training team running courses on donkey care and welfare, he recently joined the research and operational support team.

    He has spent 20 years working as an equine and human trainer and is the author of several books on equine behaviour and clicker training, as well as the creator of a unique series of individual equine training plans.

    Ian Cawsey bio picture

    Ian Cawsey - Advocacy Director

    Ian joined The Donkey Sanctuary in November 2018 as Director of Advocacy, having previously led the organisation’s work on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. He is an experienced international advocate for animals and now leads our new advocacy department which exists to connect our work and knowledge to the stakeholders across the world who have the power to improve the lives of millions of donkeys and mules.

    Formerly, Ian was the Director of Policy & External Affairs at World Animal Protection and was the Member of Parliament for Brigg & Goole between 1997-2010. He was the Chair of the Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare and was twice voted the parliamentarian champion for animal welfare having been nominated for the award by the founder of The Donkey Sanctuary, Dr Elisabeth Svendsen.

    Meet our people