A Mijas donkey worker was recently captured abusing his donkeys. In a video shared on 13th October with El Refugio del Burrito, the man kicks one of his donkeys twice in the face and elbows another donkey. The aggression takes place in the middle of the street, while some tourists ride the animals.
In the village of Mijas (Málaga, Spain) donkeys are used as tourist attraction, to carry passengers and luggage. El Refugio del Burrito tirelessly works to improve the living conditions of these and other donkeys and takes action against abuse. The incident will be investigated and reported to the competent authorities, under the Andalusian Animal Protection Act and the Criminal Code.
Furthermore, the health status of the abused donkeys will be checked, in order to guarantee their welfare.
It’s not the first time...
On 22nd September we received a video via Facebook of a donkey, used as a donkey taxi in Mijas. The donkey was lying collapsed in the street, with three donkey taxi workers trying to get him up. They pushed and pulled, dragging him on the ground, until the man pulling him from the front became so annoyed he violently kicked the donkey directly in the face. The horror of onlookers was audible as they gasped and shouted at the workers, whilst the worker who had attacked the donkey defended himself to the crowd, stating that the donkey refused to get up. They continued dragging the donkey more forcibly along the street until one worker decided to remove the heavy saddle and equipment from the donkey as their method was not working. The donkey rolled over onto his side to allow the equipment to be untied and once removed he immediately stood up.
The following morning we travelled to Mijas with one of our vets to check this donkey’s health and any injuries he may have received. He was lucky to have escaped without any facial injuries and had no physical health concerns; however we continue to worry about the potential risks to these donkeys. If these workers are capable of acting so violently in public, what is happening behind closed doors?
Working to improve the living conditions of donkey taxis
We have been working with Mijas town hall and the local authorities over a number of years in order to improve the conditions for all the donkeys working there. We have an agreement with the local council imposing stricter rules on the donkey taxi owners, with guidelines for them to adhere to and permission for us to perform checks on the premises and stables with our vets. Unfortunately as we don’t have the power to ban this kind of attraction this has been an ongoing process of fighting for the rights of these donkeys, reporting any abuse or concerns to the mayor and monitoring to ensure the agreement is followed.
Following the September incident we had a number of meetings with the town hall to enforce further changes with the donkey taxis and ensure that the violent worker has been suspended from work. We collaborated with the relevant local police departments and are prosecuting this worker under the Mistreatment of Animals Act. In order to raise awareness and better educate those working with the donkey taxis we organized a course on donkey care with our vet and the council in November, so that only those who completed the course would receive a diploma and be able to renew their licence to work with the donkey taxis the following year. Due to the new political party the current councillor responsible for the donkey taxis is enthusiastic about working with us and implementing change. The council is currently identifying new more appropriate premises where the donkeys can be stabled.