Three Kent women have imported a giant Andalusian donkey — endangered in its native Spain — to Britain to promote the breed.
The donkeys can grow to 16hh and were used for farm work and to produce large mules, but increasing mechanisation has made them largely redundant, and many remaining animals are exported to Italy to be slaughtered to make salami.
But Anne McCaig, Helen Brodie and Claire Longley believe that the donkey could be used for riding for the disabled and trekking, and have been showing their two-year-old mare, Sofia, this summer.
“We are desperate to help save these giant donkeys by introducing people to the breed and making them aware of its immense potential. They combine the gentle, unflappable nature of their smaller cousins with the stature of a horse,” says Anne McCaig.
Carol Morse, secretary of the Donkey Breed Society, adds: “Anne, Helen and Claire have worked closely with the Iberian Rare Breeds Sanctuary. Animal welfare is not always a priority in Spain and as the donkeys were no longer needed, there was no incentive to look after them.
“The donkeys are too narrow to be weight carriers, but can be ridden by light adults.”
For more information, contact Anne McCaig (tel: 01892 833709).