Adopting a donkey can help with schemes

Adopting a donkey can help with schemes

Snowflake has made his recovery at the Donkey Sanctuary in Liscarroll.

Flooding and prolonged exposure to wet conditions can cause lots of different problems for donkeys, according to the Cork-based charity dedicated to their welfare.

The Donkey Sanctuary in Liscarroll was alerted to several donkeys in distress following the recent storms that saturated farmland countrywide.

It says flooded fields can lead to a lack of accessible dry ground, making it difficult for them to rest comfortably.

Prolonged exposure to wet conditions can also result in hoof problems, skin issues like rain-scald, and other health complications.

The sanctuary has urged people who come across a donkey, or a group of donkeys, stranded in a flooded or submerged field to take immediate action as the welfare of the animals could be at serious risk.

Meanwhile, as Christmas approaches, it has introduced 'Snowdrop to its adoption family. With a bright white coat and sweet nature, he has come a long way since being rescued five years ago.

“Snowdrop’s story is a true testament to the resilience of donkeys and the incredible transformation that can happen with the right care and support,” said Cathy Griffin, head of welfare at the sanctuary.

“We are thrilled to introduce him as our newest adoption donkey. This allows our supporters to contribute to his ongoing care, and the welfare of other donkeys,” she said.

When Donkey Welfare Adviser Jane Bruce was called to Co. Monaghan, she found Snowdrop and his mother 'Snowflake' living with no shelter, even though it was wet and bitterly cold.

Snowdrop had overgrown hooves and rain scald, which occurs when the skin and hair are wet for long periods of time. His mother also had chronic laminitis and was struggling to cope with her boisterous son.

Both donkeys were treated by the vet and farrier and moved to the sanctuary’s new arrivals unit. Jane also worked with their owner to help prevent any further unplanned breeding. Fortunately, both donkeys recovered well.

Snowflake has also been given the care she needs. She now lives with a group of donkeys with laminitis and always has soft bedding and an easy walk to the fields.

The sanctuary’s farm team ensures that she stays at an ideal weight to help prevent a flare-up of her laminitis. She has been doing well since moving to her new group and likes to mingle with all the other donkeys.

Funds raised through the adoption scheme help to buy food and medicine, pay for vets and farriers, education and training, and the ongoing work of rescuing helpless donkeys from hopeless situations.

Since it opened in 1987, the sanctuary has cared for over 5,600 neglected and abandoned donkeys from across Ireland.

For many of them, it is the first time in their lives that they have felt loving hands and heard quiet voices. Great care is given to ensuring that each donkey has individual attention.

Today, the sanctuary has over 1,700 donkeys and mules in its care. Some 530 of these reside in private guardian homes countrywide as part of a rehoming scheme. The remainder are based at its four farms in the Liscarroll area.

Earlier this year, the sanctuary celebrated the 20th anniversary of its veterinary hospital, which has provided thousands of donkeys with world-class facilities and expertise.

Meanwhile, Agriculture, Food and Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue has confirmed that the humble donkey, part of rural life for centuries, has a value for stocking requirements under Common Agricultural Policy schemes.

He revealed their worth when replying to a Dail question from Kerry Deputy Michael Healy-Rae, who asked him if donkeys have a role in stocking densities and in farmers fulfilling requirements under the schemes.

Minister McConalogue said stocking requirements can be used by applicants to fulfil eligibility criteria under CAP schemes such as Eco, Organic Farming and Areas of Natural Constraints.

“Donkeys are eligible for inclusion in stocking requirement calculations and are valued at 0.80 livestock unit.

“In addition, they must be owned by the applicant and hold a valid passport with the donkey registered in the name of the applicant. Donkeys must also be maintained on the applicant's holding,” he said.

Minister McConalogue said it is important to note that no more than 50% of the stocking density requirement can be fulfilled using donkeys.

“Applicants are, therefore, required to use other livestock to fulfil the other 50% requirement,” he said.

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Karen Walsh

Karen Walsh

Law of the Land


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