What comes to people’s minds when they hear the word mule: stubborn, aggressive or even dangerous? Mules can be perceived as all of these things but it is in fact our perception and how we work with and respect these animals for what they are. When treated with kindness, patience and understanding they learn to trust and obey. If they are treated with force they are most likely not going to obey as they can sense danger. This is where people’s perception of mules as being aggressive comes into play. But it is a defence mechanism for them, to protect themselves.
You are here
Education is without doubt a key part of the answer to improving the lives of donkeys and mules in Ireland and running donkey care courses in new venues throughout Leinster is something high on the priority list. We have held successful courses in Wexford and Dublin in established guardian homes and at My Lovely Horse welfare organisation in Kildare. Courses have been well attended and the feedback has been positive and encouraging.
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.
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.