Tourists warned over donkey “taxis”

  • Appeal for tourists to check on the welfare of donkeys used as transport in holiday resorts this summer

    The Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth, Devon, has issued a checklist for tourists travelling abroad to help ensure the welfare of donkeys used as taxi services.

    Many European countries, such as Spain and Greece, have a large donkey population. The animals are mainly used to provide transport for tourists travelling up and down the mountains or around the local area.

    Some donkey taxi operators provide their animals with an acceptable level of care, but others see them only as money-makers.

    According to reports, some owners show little concern for their animal’s welfare and with a regular income generated from the tourists, they see no reason to change.

    The animals are exposed to temperatures close to 100F degrees with little or no shelter and provided with inadequate amounts of food and water.

    Forced to carry overweight passengers, many donkeys have poorly fitted tack made from scrap rope and garden hosepipe.

    At night the donkeys are either hobbled or have little or no bedding to lie on. This can cause irreparable damage to their knee joints and bald patches on their legs.

    Paul Svendsen, deputy chief executive of The Donkey Sanctuary said: “If tourists begin to exclude a donkey taxi ride from their holiday, then eventually the operators will realise the suffering they are causing.”

    “We are very happy to work with these operators to help them improve their standards and run a much more donkey and mule-friendly business.”

    The Donkey Sanctuary has issued a free check-list to help holidaymakers identify problems that cause donkeys and mules to suffer as well, as locations of donkey taxi establishments the sanctuary is currently concerned about.

    Before taking a ride check the following:

    • That they have access to water, food and shelter
    • The quality of their tack
    • That you weigh less than 8 stone

    To obtain a copy of the check-list contact: The Donkey Sanctuary, (Donkey Taxis), Sidmouth, Devon, EX10 0NU (tel: 01395 578222.) or email thedonkeysanctuary@compuserve.com

    Read more about equine welfare around the world:

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