Donkeys are the most misunderstood and abused animals around the world.
Bonnie Jo Campbell
Last summer I visited The Donkey Sanctuary farm in Liscarroll, Co Cork. The farm is a home for 127 donkeys ( the number might have changed), but the Sanctuary has over 1800 donkeys in their care, about 500 of them re-homed. How did it happen that so many donkeys had to be rescued? Sadly, in order to claim agricultural subsidies many farmers use donkeys as a low-cost means of reaching the minimum stocking density required. The cost of castrating the young males is far higher than their value, and the donkeys that are left to fend for themselves in the fields would breed all the year round. Also, if a donkey gets sick it is often cheaper to buy a new donkey than to take it to the vet. On Done Deal website you can get a donkey for as little as €50, and often “to a Good Home free”. All of this contributes to the high numbers of neglected and abandoned donkeys nationally.
I came to the sanctuary on my way to Killarney and had less than an hour to look around and enjoy the company of sweet donkeys. I have always had a soft spot for goats and donkeys.
There is a cute picnic area in the farm, and everything is tidy and homey.
In this building you can buy some donkey-related souvenirs and make a donation. You can adopt a donkey for a donation of €25 a year.
After I made a donation, Margaret and I had a lively conversation about the Sanctuary. There are three more donkey farms in Ireland, she said, but only this one is open for visitors. They are not a breeding farm, but sometimes they get a pregnant female. No baby donkey this time though.
This cat deserves a picture. His eyes were permanently wide-opened which has probably something to do with his busy schedule as the mouse hunter in the farm.
Over the years, I have taken many donkey pictures. I often make them black and white to express the sadness I feel about the life of a donkey.
I have seen them careless and playful too.
Daddy, mommy and a little photo-bomber in background.
With his mommy a couple of months later.
Some facts about donkeys:
There are five main breeds and cross-breeds of donkey in Ireland: Grand Noir du Berry ( black donkey); hinny, the offspring of female donkey and a male horse; mule; miniature donkey, and a shaggy Poitou donkey.
Donkeys can live up to 50 years. They are social animals and it is not good to keep a donkey as a lone animal. Donkeys are stoical by nature and won’t show that they are in pain. Proverbial stubbornness of the donkey can indicate that the animal is simply afraid. Being safe is important for donkeys.
The Donkey Sanctuary was founded in 1972. Many things have changed since, and many donkeys have crossed the Rainbow Bridge, but there is a 40 years old donkey still living in the farm. The average age of the other donkeys is 10 years, which is an indication of an economic downturn in Ireland a decade ago.
Katie is a volunteer from The Netherlands. She is a donkey whisperer 🙂 Katie explained me the ‘mystery’ of the yellow and red collars: red means a boy and yellow a girl. And there are the names written on the collars!
I found a video on YouTube, Castletown Donkey Derby, 1994. It is fun but still I am sorry for the donkeys.
When a donkey brays, the other donkeys listen.
Jason the donkey brays his heart out, and I am delighted to hear his performance.
A humble man’s helper, donkey costs almost nothing to keep. A little bit of care is all he needs – hoof trimming, shelter, access to water. Civilization has used the poor donkey badly, and as if it is not enough, donkey’s meat and hide are the subject of trade in some countries.
I wish we lived in an ideal world where nobody is hungry, cold and lonely, and the ability to hurt others is erased from human genome.
Thank you for reading!
Have a great week!
I’m sorry I missed this post, Inese. It’s so lovely. Sweet, noble creatures. Hugs.
Thank you Teagan! Noble they are. Hugs.
Great photography of the donkeys Inese. I particularly was amused by them braying! Sad that they are not always treated well.
Marje, I so loved listening to their performance. They took turns 🙂
That sounds so lovely Inese. 🙂
There are some of the most beautiful donkeys I have seen. Wonderful chronicle, Inese. Thank you n_n
Thank you Francis! It has been a long time. Glad you love the donkeys. I wonder how they are treated in where you live?
Wonderful post and photos Inese. I particularly love the B&W photos.
Humans can be so terribly cruel – I don’t understand it at all.
Thank you Nilla ❤
Donkeys are so sweet, they make good gaurd dogs. It really is a shame
Reblogged this on SHIFT2Drive.blog.
My kingdom for a donkey.
It’not only a joke for me.
My is to have a farm with these so sensible donkeys.
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They are such lovely animals,
I would often see them in Sint Marteen..and they would roam the mountainside..I’m so glad to see sanctuaries dedicated to donkeys, and how fun you were able to visit
M & Bear
Photos made me come here and now intrigued by the information too 🙂 Keep going!
Lovely post and amazing photos!
It is a shame isn’t it, that whenever there is a monetary “opportunity” people will abuse it. Poor donkeys. 😦
I wouldn’t mind them ‘staffing’ their farms with donkeys if that is what it takes to get a grant, but they should spare a tiny part of it for castrating their donkeys and trimming their hooves once in a while. It is all care they need.
Trimming their hooves? Hadn’t thought about that. So used to horses being shoed, hadn’t thought about donkeys. Of course. 🙂
Oh Brian, poor donkeys look like Aladdins with their hooves overgrown 😦 There is a link, but I have seen much worse 😦 https://www.thedodo.com/on-the-farm/donkey-overgrown-hooves
Well, thank you for the link. At least that was a happy ending. 🙂
I’ve often thought about our Cro-Magon ancestors, before scissors were invented. The hair growing and growing. That could be cut of with a knife – once invented. But the nails???
The same with the horses. Their hooves have to be taken care of. Wild animals move around and their hooves wear off naturally.
Yeah, I remember my horse riding days… (In the Ngong hills, by Karen Blixen’s house. Which we didn’t know then) 🙂
🙂 Sorry for not reading your blog. I will catch up when I am ok.
No rush my dear. Get well first. Only that matters.
Did some reading on your blog, starting from where I got off the radar. Your stories are better than any fiction.
Interesting comment. Thank you. I still see myself more of a fiction writer. 🙂 But a story is a story. And it is always a great pleasure to write. And be read. 😉
YOUR fiction is a derivative of all these amazing stories, experiences, family history – all these treasures that shaped your values and your philosophy. Magic of your fiction doesn’t come from nowhere 🙂
(Blushing) Er, er… Thank you. And you’re right, my fiction comes from all the “environment” I’ve lived in. Good incentive to start writing fiction again. I have had trouble writing since last year. ‘Hope to get over it soon. Take good care of yourself my friend. We all missed you. 🙂
Thank you Brian. Love to your family.
Amazing post. They look so cute in the photos!
Thank you Habiba 🙂
You are welcome!
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