This Friday (11th May), international animal welfare charity The Donkey Sanctuary will oversee beach donkey health checks on Blackpool beach for the twentieth year running.
Up to 80 Blackpool beach donkeys and their owners are expected to gather from 9:30am to officially receive their licenses to provide donkey rides on the beach this summer. This Friday will mark the twentieth occasion that the charity has assisted vets and local councils with this annual process, an involvement which first began in 1992.
Assisting with licensing is one of the ways that The Donkey Sanctuary works with beach donkey operators to ensure that the welfare of the 1,000 or so donkeys working on UK beaches providing traditional rides for children is of a good standard.
Each year at the start of the holiday season, donkey operators obtain an official licence from their council under the Riding Establishments Act for each donkey working on the beach. As part of this process, each donkey’s teeth, hooves, overall body and skin condition and tack are checked to make sure that they can carry out their beach duties comfortably and without pain or injury.
The Donkey Sanctuary’s widely accepted Code of Practice for Working Donkeys sets out guidelines for maximum weight limits and regular breaks to ensure their welfare is maintained throughout the working season.
Molly Lloyd, The Donkey Sanctuary’s regional welfare officer for the Blackpool area, explains the charity’s involvement in the licensing process:
“The Donkey Sanctuary offers support and advice to donkey owners, including beach donkey operators, all year round, but licensing day itself presents a rare opportunity to meet all the beach donkeys and their owners in one place at one time. It is the perfect chance to look forward together to the summer, reflect on the successes of the previous season and invite operators to any training sessions or events we may have coming up in their area. As a charity we also assist with micro-chipping so that licensed donkeys can be easily identified. Key for us is that the donkeys are receiving a good standard of welfare, and that donkey owners know that we are there to help them and their donkeys.”
To find out more about the charity’s work with beach donkey operators, please visit www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk/beachdonkeys.
For an interview, further information or images, please contact The Donkey Sanctuary press office on 01395 573097/573014, mobile 07970 927778 or via email.
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