Millions of the world’s poorest people rely on donkeys to keep them supplied with the basic necessities of life and enable them to earn enough money to support their families. Whether these donkeys are collecting a household’s supply of clean water, transporting their owner’s farm produce to market, or enabling a family to earn a living in a brick kiln or on a building site, they are providing a vital service to people who can only afford to give them minimal food, shelter and medical care. Donkeys are hardy creatures and well-adapted to life in hot climates and inhospitable environments, but in many ways their toughness works against them; their high pain threshold and stoical nature prevents many owners from noticing when their donkeys are sick or injured.
The Donkey Sanctuary has been working to help these loyal, long-suffering animals for 33 years. We have bases and major programmes in India, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya and Mexico; and have supported projects in many other countries, particularly through our small grants programme.
Thanks to our supporters, our overseas teams can alleviate the suffering caused by harness wounds and sores, lameness, injuries, parasites and disease, advise owners on donkey health and welfare, and train harness makers, local government vets and other people within the community. This approach, supplementing veterinary care with professional training, community education and work in partnership with local services, is designed to spread the benefits of our activities beyond the donkeys and owners we encounter in our day-to-day work.
Many of the donkey welfare problems we encounter stem from human beliefs and habits which cannot be changed quickly, especially when rooted in culture and tradition, and further influenced by economic pressures. But among all the setbacks, we do find people with a real will to improve their donkeys’ wellbeing, and sometimes it takes just a few of these individuals or groups to start changing the views of a whole community. We are striving to communicate our message to those owners, and to train their local vets and animal health workers, so that our donors’ money can reach as many as possible of the millions of working donkeys in need of help.
|International projects||Mainland Europe|
In addition to the major projects in the five countries outside Europe where we have bases and staff, The Donkey Sanctuary has a policy of supporting other animal welfare organisations which help donkeys and their owners in countries where we don’t work ourselves. We award grants, usually up to £5,000 a year, to these groups, and can also give them free advice them on specific aspects of donkey care such as harness, cart design, veterinary care and farriery. Here are some of the projects we are currently supporting: