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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

Sad end for Palomares Mule

Sometimes we are lost for words when trying to express the helplessness we feel following the outcome of some cases, in spite of all the hard work and enthusiasm we put in. Such is the case of a mule we recently tried to rescue in a village near Seville in spite of our prompt response.

These are the details of the case:

Sad end for Palomares Mule

Donkey carousels banned in Spanish town

A Spanish town has banned donkey ‘carousels’ after The Donkey Sanctuary lobbied the authorities against it.

The carousels, where donkeys and ponies are tied by their heads to a fixed turntable and forced to walk round and round in a circle carrying children on ‘rides’, are a feature of many Spanish towns during festivals and fairs.

But these live animal fairground-style rides have been stopped in Algeciras, Gibraltar, southern Spain, thanks to The Donkey Sanctuary’s Spanish branch, El Refugio del Burrito.

Donkey carousel

Animal cruelty at El Rocío

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.

Animal cruelty at El Rocío

STEPS against cruelty

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

Santorini donkey taxi with tourist cruise ship in the background

The case of Alicante... update

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.

Rescued from Alicante

Rancho Mestres - neglect case in Cataluña

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.

Donkeys at Rancho Mestres


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