Vets and charity donate thousands to ease animals’ suffering in Australia

The Donkey Sanctuary has donated thousands of pounds to a charity in Australia, where equine food is running out – as British vets have also given thousands to their Aussie counterparts.

The £10,000 given by the UK charity to the Good Samaritan Donkey Sanctuary in New South Wales will buy 21 tonnes of barley straw and fund two water collections per week until next April. The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) and the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) have donated £7,000 to the Australian Veterinary Association Benevolent Fund to help vets treating animals caught in the horrific bushfires.

A Donkey Sanctuary spokesman said the Australian charity has been badly affected by the severe drought; since its last dam ran dry last week, staff have to bring 11,000 litres of water in twice a week for the donkeys.

He said: “The sanctuary is increasingly concerned about the lack of available feed for the donkeys. At this time of year, there is usually no shortage of grazing, or locally available straw. The land is parched and bone-dry because of a lack of rain and record temperatures. There is barely a blade of grass for the donkeys to feed on, and other local farms are facing the same challenges, making feed a very high commodity.”

The charity’s barley straw has run out and local feed suppliers have capped the amount customers can buy, so the two staff members have to make a 186-mile round trip every day, visiting three merchants, to buy enough feed for the donkeys.

“The situation now is critical,” the spokesman said, adding that while nearby fires are listed as “under control”, they are also a constant concern.

Simon Pope of the Donkey Sanctuary said: “We have all seen the utterly heartbreaking scenes in Australia for both humans and animals. It’s only due to the generosity of our supporters that we can play a small part by responding in this way – helping donkeys in their time of need.”

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BEVA and BSAVA are encouraging members to donate to the fund set up by the Australian Veterinary Association.

BSAVA president Sue Paterson said: “Throughout Australia there are massive areas of land reduced to tinder, thousands of homes and people’s livelihoods destroyed as well as the devastating effects of the fires on the millions of native animals. 

“While we can offer our support and offer condolences to the courageous people of Australia who are dealing with this natural disaster, BSAVA feel that we should be more proactive and we hope our membership will support our decision to make a donation to the fund. As the welcome rains have arrived to help dissipate the flames, we feel financial support will help to nurture the green shoots as they start to appear.”

BEVA president Tim Mair said: “We have all been shocked and saddened by this ongoing tragedy but we’re full of admiration for the courageous and generous work being undertaken by our veterinary colleagues Down Under. This gesture of support will hopefully help to sustain the efforts to minimise suffering and rebuild.”

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