Following the deaths of several donkeys — including a six-month-old foal — on New Forest roads this winter, a new campaign to urge motorists to slow down has been launched.

Owners Rob and Genette Byford have produced reflective stickers for New Forest donkeys in a bid to save them from road accidents, after one of their donkeys was killed in November.

Jo-Jo, a six-month-old foal, was killed in Brockenhurst on 26 November. She was one of 16 donkeys owned by the couple.

A second of the couple’s donkeys was then hit on 7 December.

Now Genette is trialling reflective stickers attached to her animals to try to make them more visible. Special glue is used to attach the stickers to the hair but more research is needed to find a reflective material that will remain in place for longer.

“I’ve had a number of donkeys and ponies run over and it is heart-breaking every time, she said.

“People just don’t think about the animals being there. We do have reflective collars on most of our animals but I don’t put them on the babies because when they grow the collars get too tight.”

On 3 November three donkeys were killed in one crash at around 5.30am. One animal was killed on impact, the other two were put down after sustaining serious injuries (news, 27 November). A spokesman for the New Forest verderers told H&H it was the worst accident she’d seen in 20 years of working in the forest.

Nigel Matthews, of the New Forest National Park Authority added: “The majority of accidents involve local people, many of whom become complacent as they go about their daily business. We are again appealing to drivers to be more careful. We should all drive knowing that there might be an animal on the road.”

  • Gerri Scargill

    This happened in the New Forest, it is traditionally unfenced grazing land and has been for donkeys years, it’s the motorists who need to take more care, and disgraceful to think that most of the accidents are caused by local drivers who should know better.

  • Eilidh Somerville

    The simplest solution to this would be to not let your horses, ponies and donkeys roam freely. If I had a horse, pony or donkey then I would NOT let them wander about near or on roads. If it’s not a vehicle it could easily be some sicko deliberately being cruel to them. I am not making excuses for the idiotic motorists who bomb along roads (far from it) but I do not think that people (who supposedly care so much for their horses, etc) should complain about them being hit when they are the very ones who let them roam in the first place. I am really sorry about what happened to the donkeys but it could have easily been prevented had they been securely fenced in.