Would you like to know how to help donkey friends? Donkeys are delightful, but have the combination of being strong and passive, so keep going, no matter how much they suffer. Of course most working donkeys are abroad (‘draught animals’ that includes ponies and camels).
Walking with Henry is the lovely story of a US woman whose family were on their knees with depression, debt and more, a few years back. The last thing they needed was a homeless donkey turn up. But he did, and Flash (with his personality as big as his ears) saved them, as they saved him. Henry is the little brother they adopted, to keep him company.
But we still have a few working donkeys here, namely on the beach (although the law has now changed a little, with new weight limits as the average weight of children has increased in recent years). Although most of us would prefer donkeys not to be working on beaches, for now it seems some parents think it’s a treat. And local animal welfare societies and councils seem to be on it, ensuring that any reports are dealt with pretty swiftly. The Donkey Sanctuary has expert welfare tips. Other ways to help donkeys include:
- People who travel abroad can ensure they don’t take donkey rides. And the other thing is to help support donkey sanctuaries. The Donkey Sanctuary is actually one of the better ‘big charities’ in England, spending over 80% on actual charity work, rather than the usual 50%/60% by big charities. There are many donkey sanctuaries including on Isle of Wight.
- If you are the creative type, you can knit or crochet harnesses to help prevent donkey nose sores. And you could support charities like The Brooke and SPANA that do wonderful work, educating donkey guardians not to carry our awful practices like nose-slitting.
- You could buy a copy of Sharing the Load (the gold-standard welfare manual for working draught animals) and send a copy to a local animal shelter or charity in countries where they are overwhelmed.
- Switch your search engine to Everyclick and register a donkey sanctuary. Sponsors donate, each time you search.
Keir’s Mother & Her Donkeys
A few months back, the right-wing press went for Sir Keir Starmer, the new Labour leader. Because he apparently owned some land that was worth a lot of money. They didn’t do their research, as it turned out he had bought the land for his parents, including his disabled mother (so she could watch out the window to look at their rescued donkeys). Animal-batty Britain went mad, when the only criticism could be for a ‘man who loved his disabled mother so much, he bought her a field to rescue donkeys’. It backfired, got labelled as Donkeygate, with many people donating to donkey sanctuaries!
The field was an unremarkable piece of land. There were half a dozen or so donkeys in the field. I recall vividly the way these happy animals nuzzled up to this frail lady as she went about her business, tending to them, feeding them and caring for hem. ‘It’s a sort of donkey sanctuary’ Keir said about his mum who would take in donkeys that were neglected, or whose owners could no longer care for them. ‘It’s her passion. I sometimes think she loves them more than she loves my sisters, my brothers and me’, he added, with a twinkle in his eye. Jonathan Cooper, Open Democracy