Phoenix (age 5) and Baxten (age 6) are two ordinary donkeys that came to me a year ago from the Donkey Sanctuary. They are two lively young donkeys with an inquisitive attitude to life. At the weekend they went back 100 years in time to 1916. The occasion was the “Country and Rural Life” re-enactment hosted by Teagasc on their farm in Athenry, Co Galway and over 20,000 people were expected. Three months ago both the donkeys and I were totally unprepared for this journey.
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In Ireland, the identification system for equines (horses, donkeys, mules, hinnies) comprises of a passport, a micro-chip and details recorded on a database maintained by approved issuing bodies.
It is the law that all equines have a passport and a microchip. The aim of these regulations is to improve the system for the identification of equines and to provide extra safeguards for owners and breeders of equines as to the identity of animals. It also represents a major step forward in safeguarding the food chain.
A concerned member of the public contacted The Donkey Sanctuary regarding a large group of donkeys roaming through a bog in Co. Meath.
Our Donkey Welfare Adviser, Cathy, visited the bog to investigate, and was greeted by 17 terrified, neglected donkeys with extremely overgrown hooves.
One female donkey with the most horrendously twisted hooves struck a chord with Cathy. Although she was in visible pain and discomfort, she was kind and gentle. We named her Breeze.
In January 2015 the Sanctuary received a call from the public regarding three donkeys who had been abandoned illegally in county Louth. The weather was inclement and the donkeys had no feed or shelter so our Welfare team prioritized this case and removed the donkeys from this situation immediately. The Gardaí assisted with the relinquishment of the donkeys and were very helpful. The donkeys began their rehabilitation process in the comfort and warmth of the Sanctuary in Liscarroll.
Donkeys Edith and Mini were taken into the care of The Sanctuary in July 2015. Their owners could no longer care for them and made the responsible decision to contact us and ask for assistance. Our Welfare team sprung into action and before long these two donkeys were settling into life in Liscarroll.
The donkeys were in good condition, they were assessed by our Veterinary team and tests proved that Edith was in foal. A donkeys gestation period can last between 10-14 months and she was not very far gone so we anticipate that she will have her foal in the Spring/Summer months.
This day three years ago we received a call about a donkey in need and we went to investigate. We were horrified to see the conditions this donkey was in and the pain that he was in was heart-breaking. His hooves were so overgrown and painful he struggled to walk, he was suffering from rain scald (a painful skin condition) from being left out in the elements with no shelter and he was starving, dehydrated and lost all hope.