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The European Commission has welcomed the publication of practical guidelines on assessing the fitness for transport of equidae (horses, ponies, donkeys and their hybrids), an essential resource for anyone involved in the transport process, which was produced through a collaboration of agri-food, transport, veterinary organisations and animal welfare groups supported by the European Commission.

El Refugio del Burrito rescues over 100 donkeys in the largest operation of its history

An emergency rescue of 100 donkeys took place this week in the Spanish village of Guijo de Granadilla, Cáceres as part of the largest rescue case lead by The Donkey Sanctuary’s Spanish operation, El Refugio del Burrito.

The equines were rescued by El Refugio del Burrito after the death of their owner left them with nobody to care for them. As the animals were not registered or microchipped, they faced an uncertain future until the charity stepped in.

Some of the donkeys rescued from Guijo de Granadilla, Cáceres

We participate in the Peropalo carnival (Villanueva de la Vera) to ensure the welfare of its donkey

The Peropalo Carnival centres around a donkey being taken through the narrow village streets, ridden by a drunkard and led through a crowd who also fire shotguns and bang drums next to the animal. The donkey falls and suffers from stress throughout the show, which lasts for about one hour.

Our Animal Welfare team visited Villanueva de la Vera, where this act is held, last February the 9th. This year, the City Council of Villanueva de la Vera has organised a security zone around the donkey, named Celipa. Furthermore, gun shots were limited to the furthest from the animal.


On January the 28th we succeeded in rescuing Felipe, the donkey that was used in the Peropalo Carnival for the last five years. The City Council of Villanueva de la Vera agreed to give us the donkey, thus recognizing that he is no longer healthy and fit to participate in this parade and giving priority to the animal’s welfare. Felipe suffers from laminitis, a disease that affects his hooves, making it difficult for him to walk and causing him pain. However, another donkey will occupy his place in this year’s Carnival.

Felipe Peropalo rescued donkey


Ramón Amaya lives in the neighbourhood of Llera, Badajoz. His life changed on January the 2nd, when he rescued a mule that was near to death by the wayside. Witnesses said that the mule collapsed in exhaustion, while being pulled by a jeep. She was first dragged on the ground, then beat and finally abandoned.

Ramón decided to take charge of the mule, who was named Muliki. Thanks to one of our Facebook friends, we knew about this story and rapidly contacted Ramón to offer him our support and advice.

Relinquished mule in Álora

Marcelo is a 25 year old mule we have just collected in Álora, a town in the Málaga province. He has spent most of his life working with his owner, who is now too old to give him the care he needs. It was the owner himself who decided to call and relinquish his beloved mule to us, so he could have a wonderful retirement.

At El Refugio del Burrito, thanks to all of you and your invaluable donations he will have a life full of love and care.

Marcelo, at our Refugio

Ibai rescued from deplorable living conditions

Ibai is one of the latest donkeys we have rescued. He is a 5 year old donkey that was living inside a small, ruined building in a marginal neighbourhood in Adra (Almería’s province). He only had 10 square metres of living space and he hardly ever got fed, so he was approaching starvation. Needless to say he did not get any veterinary attention either. The donkey was used by gypsies to pull a cart with ill-fitting harnessing that has made him sore and wounded in several places.

Ibai rescued from deplorable living conditions

Carousels banned in Ronda and Ciempozuelos

We have plenty to celebrate as new towns and cities around Andalucia are responding to our appeal to ban donkey and pony carousels at local celebrations.

Ronda, one of the most touristic cities in Andalucia, is the latest to ban such fairground attractions.

Following our appeal, the council has decided not to allow these attractions where donkeys and/or ponies are forced to work long hours with little rest, food or water. Further inland, Ciempozuelos in Madrid has also decided to join the ban.

Mother and foal at carousel


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