Welfare of donkeys in the European milk industry will be in the spotlight at a meeting of international animal welfare groups.

A report on a year-long investigation into the welfare standards of donkeys in the industry will be presented at the meeting in Italy.

It was produced Dr Michela Minero along with researchers at the University of Milan and supported by The Donkey Sanctuary.

“Research for this investigation took place in Italy, where a significant proportion of the European donkey milk industry operates,” explained Faith Burden, of The Donkey Sanctuary.

“The report looks at the current situation regarding donkey milk production and provides an overview of EU regulation of donkey milk farming and the effects of animal welfare legislation within Italy.”

Welfare assessments were carried out of donkeys within the industry, including lactating jennies, foals, non-milk producing donkeys and breeding stallions.

The standards at the 12 farms that voluntarily took part were found to be generally good.

The hope behind the study is to come up with guidelines to help the industry towards self-regulation and further improvement to welfare conditions.


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“We look forward to using the outcomes of this report to create guidelines that promote and share best practices across the industry,” added Ms Burden.

A total of 12 animal welfare groups that operate across Europe will attend the Eurogroup Equine Working Group meeting, hosted by the charity’s Italian operation Il Rifugio degli Asinelli.

Founded in 1969, The Donkey Sanctuary supports projects to alleviate the suffering of donkeys in 34 countries across the world.