The Donkey Sanctuary has identified a worrying trend from the beginning of this year of unwanted donkey foals of which 12 so far have been relinquished into their care.
The charity believes that the number of donkeys being bred each year without adequate concern being given to the animal’s future is on the increase.
Donkeys are long lived with the average lifespan of a donkey is estimated at between 25-30 years. Some live beyond this age and well into their forties. This undoubtedly impacts on their welfare requirements and the need for a long term suitable secure home.
Ashling O’Sullivan, a spokesperson for the Sanctuary said: “We have long held these concerns regarding indiscriminate breeding and have worked towards addressing the issue. We urge all owners to think very carefully before breeding a foal and adding to the welfare problem.
Through our Donkey Welfare Improvement Scheme (DWIS) we provide free castrations for un-gelded stallions and colts. We work alongside local registered veterinary practitioners to provide this professional service.
“By offering this castration service we aim to reduce the welfare problem of overproduction of unwanted donkeys in Ireland and to prevent their suffering."
The charity is at the forefront of donkey welfare issues, promoting responsible ownership, health care and addressing the overproduction of donkeys in Ireland.
Ms O’Sullivan added: “Often owners are allowing indiscriminate breeding to happen as the result of an ‘accident’ or putting their mare’s in foal without objectively considering their future, quality of stock and potential health defects and consideration of temperament.
“If a donkey owner needs help with castrating their donkeys, they should contact our welfare office on 02249013 to learn more about the castration programme and avail of the service.”
Our visionMarch 19, 2019
The Donkey Sanctuary has dealt with up to 3,000 donkeys left abused and to fend for themselves over the past couple of years.
It is estimated that there are at least another 3,000 donkeys unaccounted for. Many of the donkeys cared for by them were injured and abused.
A report in 2015, launched at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin, linked the uncontrolled eligibility of donkeys for subsidy payments granted for ‘Areas of Natural Constraint’ (ANC) with potentially driving a market for indiscriminate breeding.
Uncontrolled production is considered key to the increased numbers of donkeys being abandoned in Ireland in recent years - there is an excess of supply (in particular uncastrated colts) over demand.