Similarly, to Santorini and Rhodes, donkeys are used to provide rides to tourists in the small town of Mijas in Spain. For many years, The Donkey Sanctuary worked hard to try to improve welfare conditions, using several different approaches. In more recent times, our sister charity El Refugio del Burrito, has made progress with many of the owners and, importantly, the local Town Hall.
While there continues to be concerns and required improvements, El Refugio have made progress. A signed agreement is in place giving guidelines that the donkey owners must adhere too as well as giving El Refugio access to check the overnight donkey accommodation with their vet. The owners are also under strict instruction not to work any donkey that is lame, has wounds or is unfit to work. The shelter area has improved and owners are instructed to take the donkeys to the water trough regularly throughout the day.
El Refugio are now pushing for improvements to the overnight accommodation and have provided the Town Hall with drawings of suitable buildings of the correct size. There has been a gradual increase in the number of owners who now seek veterinary care for their donkeys, with a noticeable decrease in the number of hoof problems and wounds.
One area that is proving to be incredibly difficult to deal with is persuading the owners to castrate the donkeys. Almost of all of them are stallions and, due to their tendency to be aggressive toward each other, the donkeys need to be tied up very close to the wall on a short rope to prevent them attacking each other. If castrated, the donkeys’ temperament would be calmer and they could then be giving more space.
El Refugio have previously provided donkey care training to many of the owners and, as there has recently been a change of political party in the town, training will also be given to the relevant officials.