Mules and donkeys jump for joy in new arena

  • What better sight could there be to banish the February Monday morning blues than donkeys and mules jumping for joy?

    Donkey Sanctuary farm supervisor Elizabeth Hyde captured the moment as residents of the charity’s Town Barton Farm were allowed to explore the centre’s new sand exercise area for the first time.

    The farm, in central Devon on the edge of the Dartmoor National Park, is home to more than 300 donkeys and mules, rescued or given into the sanctuary’s care, and looked after by staff experienced in mule care and behaviour.

    Picture by Elizabeth Hyde, the Donkey Sanctuary

    The sand exercise area was built to allow the farm’s residents year-round “enhanced enrichment”.

    Town Barton farm manager Paul Cater said: “It was very rewarding to watch the animals being free to express themselves as they explored their new sand area for the first time.

    “This is a wonderful new facility that will enrich the lives of our donkeys and mules.”

    The farm, which is not open to the public, is about an hour’s drive from the donkey Sanctuary’s headquarters in Sidmouth, Devon.

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    The international charity’s vision is “a world where donkeys and mules live free from suffering and their contribution to humanity is fully valued”.

    It runs 10 sanctuaries in the UK and Europe, caring for more than 7,000 donkeys and mules. The charity’s hospital treats sick donkeys, while its donkey-facilitated learning programme “helps vulnerable children and adults develop life skills by connecting with donkeys on an emotional and physical level”.

    Worldwide, the charity operates programmes for animals working in agriculture, industry and transportation, and those used in the production of meat and skin.

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