Following our mission of helping donkeys and mules all over Spain, we were present at this year’s “El Rocío” to help protect the welfare of the equines at the festival, and to prevent their mistreatment. “El Rocío” is one of the biggest Spanish festivals held in June eachyear and the biggest, most crowded pilgrimage in the country. Thousands of people, and animals, flock to this particular spot in South West Spain to participate in this religious festival. What our welfare team found there, however, was far from religious indeed; it was a scene fit for Dante’s Inferno.
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In response to new evidence of suffering experienced by animals working abroad in the tourism industry, The Donkey Sanctuary is urging UK tourists to “Take STEPS” to avoid participating in acts of animal cruelty this summer.
Donkeys and mules in tourist hotspots, such as the Greek island of Santorini, are commonly used as taxis, carrying passengers or luggage. An independent report produced last year1 revealed that many of these animals are forced to carry overweight passengers and are denied access to shade, water and rest for hours at a time
When in June 2013 we received a call from Los Caballos Luna, horse rescue centre, denouncing the bad state that a group of 40 equines were in an illegal farm in Callosa de Segura, Alicante, we couldn't have ever imagined that it would take us more than 7 months to take them out of there and bring the owner to justice.
Emaciated donkeys and horses tied up with short chains 24 hours a day, with no access to water and fed with rotten vegetables when they were lucky, very overgrown hooves and terrible hygienic conditions is what we found when we first checked the farm.
Not long ago, we had a phone call from one of our supporters at The Donkey Sanctuary headquarters in the UK, telling us about the bad conditions some donkeys were facing at a ranch in Catalonia.
The place is called Rancho Mestres and we are pressing legal charges against them. Five donkeys were kept there without the care or proper facilities these animals need. Their hooves were in a terrible state (in fact one of the donkeys has needed prosthesis to be able to walk properly) and they were left without food for days. There is an animal that is actually in real danger still.
Apache’s arrival has been the one of the most expected ones ever here at El Refugio del Burrito. He was the one donkey we had to leave behind during the course of our biggest rescue case in Alicante a few months ago; because he was so weak and his hooves were in such dreadful condition he was unable to travel.
He stayed at a holding base in Murcia not far from Alicante, where he has been recovering prior to travelling to his brand new home at El Refugio del Burrito’s headquarters.
El Refugio del Burrito has now rescued 9 neglected and mistreated donkeys that were enduring an unsustainable situation in the province of Alicante. 5 of those are already enjoying their new home at our headquarters in Fuente de Piedra, Málaga.
Right after receiving a video recorded by a Dutch horse rescue association, El Refugio del Burrito was set in motion to help donkeys that were in the same facilities. Fortunately, five of those donkeys are now safe at our sanctuary, a true paradise after the hell they’ve been living.
It was but a few days ago we went to a neighbouring village called Villanueva de Algaidas. to rescue a mule whose owner was very ill and could no longer take care of her.
The mule's name was Pequeña (little one in Spanish), even when she is a large, respectable lady of 32.
When we arrived where she was, we found a little stray dog beside her; he was undernourished and had no collar or any other identification.
El Refugio del Burrito, joined forces with local animal welfare associations Solúcar, PACMA and Ecologistas en Acción and have finally won the battle to stop cruelty against donkeys at The Feria de la Manzanilla, a Festival in Southern Spain, by having the Council ban the use of animals on the beach.
Our mission here at El Refugio del Burrito is mainly concerned with the welfare of donkeys and mules in Spain, but as an animal welfare organisation we are against any form of animal cruelty or mistreatment.
Yesterday, the Catalonian Parliament voted after an ILP (People’s Initiative for Legislation) promoted by animal welfare organizations , The Prou! (enough!) Platform, in particular. This initiative was admitted for voting in the Catalunian Parliament to pass a modification of Animal protection Law in Catalunya to derogue the exception written in the law for bullfighting.