This week, more than 20,000 equines will participate in El Rocio, the largest pilgrimage in the Western world. The Donkey Sanctuary Spanish base, El Refugio del Burrito (ERB), in collaboration with Spanish authorities will put in place a 24 hour on the ground operation to ensure animal welfare during the event.
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On January 3, the Local Police conducted a raid in Badajoz to seize five horses and a mule of the 26 animals that were in famished conditions in the hands of a caravan of Portuguese nomadic group engaged in the illegal trafficking of animals and collection and sale of scrap metal. «They come from Portugal and they deal with equines in Extremadura (Spain). Every year is the same story "says Carlos Rosa, a veterinarian who runs the clinic that took care of the animals for one month before the animals could travel.
For first time in Spain, the judge has considered a crime for each of the 10 animals that were mistreated and not for the animals as a group, which they would normally do. This has been an unprecedented sentence and has marked a milestone in animal welfare in Spain.
Five years and a half in prison and a 15 year ban on working with animals: this has been the sentence to a man that kept 18 donkeys, mules and horses in inhumane conditions causing, the death of 10 of them.
It is scientifically proven: donkeys need more protection from the winter weather than horses.
A new study from The Donkey Sanctuary shows that donkeys, and to a lesser extent mules, are less able than horses to adapt to colder, wetter climates and therefore require additional protection in the winter to meet their welfare needs.
We continue to fight for improvement in the conditions and welfare of the Mijas donkey taxis. Over the years we have seen an increase in veterinary care the workers provide their donkeys, and a decrease in some issues, such as the number of hoof problems and poor body condition. However, we still have a number of other concerns that we are dealing with.
This two- day course combines the latest knowledge about caring for donkeys with practical hands on experience of 48 years of the Donkey Sanctuary. Understanding how donkeys relate to their environment and communicate is critical to training and management. We will start this course by examining the basic equine senses and communication. We will also focus on self-knowledge and personal development and how it has influence in our relationship with equines when we interact with them. Then we will discuss normal and abnormal behaviors and the basic psychology used in training.
Not all the animals at El Rocio are abused, and there is some incredible horsemanship on display, but it is the rented animals that appear to suffer the most. Most of these animals are old, tired, undernourished, full of open wounds and rented non-stop. Such was the poor state of some animals that 9 of them have been confiscated.
One more year, El Refugio del Burrito displays an operation to ensure animal welfare during El Rocío Pilgrimage.
With over one million participants and close to 120 brotherhoods, El Rocío is the largest pilgrimage in the Western world. The worshippers will undertake the journey to the chapel of El Rocío (Almonte, Huelva) in carts decorated with colours and ribbons and riding horses, mules and other equines. More than 20,000 animals will accompany them.
We are currently taking special care of a newborn foal who is starting life with a struggle.
Indiana, the little foal, was born under our care last week and has found it difficult to suckle. The first hours of life are crucial and his life was clearly at risk. His mother, Strawberry, was rescued by the Sanctuary while she was pregnant, along with another donkey called Cacahuete.