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SYALER eNewsletter


The following is from Save Your Ass Long Ear Rescue:

July, 2019

Ears the news…


I apologize for the lapse in newsletters. For those of you who do not visit us via FaceBook, you don’t know what has been going on here so I will begin with an update.

In April we took in six donkeys from a sale barn who came to us very, very ill. Our vet prepared us for the fact that they might not all make it. The donkeys  were diagnosed with  influenza and another virus. One of them, only a baby herself, aborted her foal. Two weeks after that the mules who were not even near the donkeys, came down with strangles. (The donkeys did NOT have strangles) The whole farm was put in quarantine. We beefed up our bio security big time; hazmat suits for all, foot covers, gloves, bleach to clean EVERYTHING anyone touched. Foot baths outside every entrance to every barn, and a change of suits; clothing EVERY time we changed locations.

I am happy to report that the donkeys have all recovered. After being brought up to date with vaccinations and having their hooves, which were in horrid condition trimmed they will soon be ready to be adopted.  We have negative test results on three of the mules, and two more will be tested next week. Hopefully they too will have negative results and be ready to go to new homes.

This ordeal has been incredibly stressful emotionally. It has seriously impacted our financial footing as well and it’s not over yet. We have incurred close to 9,000 in vet bills. We have been blown away by the amazing generosity of our loyal supporters.  If not for this wonderful group of people I don’t know how we would have made it through this. I don’t have the words to adequately express our gratitude.

I would be remiss if I did not thank our amazing vet Kristen Clapp and uber technician Remington Morancy; they have been phenomenal. Thanks to State Veterinarian Steve Crawford for working with us as well.  Of course super star Hannah Exel stepped right up to the plate and did whatever needed to be done. The help of our part time worker Kim Nelson and our Farm Fam pal Pomme took a bit of the load off as well. Wonderful SYA  volunteer Pam Kissel willingly dressed in hazmat gear to make sure all the animals got groomed and some cuddle time.  Those suits are like a wearable sauna. NOT FUN.  In the thirteen years of running the rescue I have never had to deal with anything like this and hope to never have to again!

I hope to get back on track with regular newsletters.




President & Shelter Manager



SYALER eNewsletter


The following is from Save Your Ass Long Ear Rescue:

April 19, 2019


Ears the news…

I apologize for the lapse between newsletters. It’s been a rough winter. I recently lost my first donkey Lula at age 28 . That was a tough one for me. Jeff got her for me as a gift and we brought her home in the back of a van when she was 16 weeks old.  It is because of Lula that I began to reach out to other donkey owners, read everything I could get my hands on about donkeys and their care, their nutritional needs, behavioral needs, and what it takes to start a rescue. The rest is history.

We have taken in a lot of animals with medical issues, those needing a lot of “fattening up”, and those with severe hoof issues.  The weather has been challenging as well. Thankfully we are finally getting some warmer, sunny days and  life is looking a bit more optimistic.

We have recently said farewell to two of our devoted board members, Joan Gemme, and Jean Cornish. They will be missed. We wish them well in their new endeavors. Thankfully Joan will still be volunteering to help with the auction and side projects for which we are very grateful!

We are in the process of looking for a new treasurer for the BOD as well as someone gifted in the art of fund raising. If you or anyone you know might be interested please let me know.

We currently have several adoptions pending and several in the works, just waiting for i’s to be dotted and t’s to be crossed. Shadow will be going to a wonderful home where she will have the company of many other donkeys of varying sizes. Sol and Luna will be going to their new home next month, as hopefully will be Ruth and Ezra.  We have people interested in Molly and Shadow, so hopefully all will be in new, loving homes before long. We love having them here but it is no substitute for being doted on by forever owners.  I am keeping my fingers crossed for the adoption of Manny and Sibley as well.

We are having our annual Open House on May 18th this year and hope to see you there! It’s a fun day to hang with the animals, other like minded folks, share food and a good time.  It will be held from 11:00 to 4:00. Please join us and bring your friends!

I would also like to publicly welcome’s our newest employee, Kim Wilson who now works weekends. I get a day off!!  Kim is a hard worker with a wonderful sense of humor; paramount for this job, and a great love for the animals.  We are happy to have her on board!

I will do my best to get back on track with the timely writing of this newsletter.



President & Shelter Manager



SYALER eNewsletter


The following is from Save Your Ass Long Ear Rescue:

October 26, 2018

Ears the news…

What a difference a day makes….waking up to snow on the ground was a surprise. The donkeys and mules were lined up so their bodies were like solar panels; all soaking in the warmth as the sun rose in the sky.

I am happy to say that in the twelve years I’ve been placing animals through the rescue, only twice have I had to reclaim animals from the home in which I had placed them. Since close to 400 animals have been placed in homes in that time frame I am able to take it in stride, though I cannot say it does not bother me greatly. Upon doing a site visit to a home which agreed to make changes necessary to provide what two draft mules would need recently, we sadly found that not only had the changes not been made, but the animals condition was not acceptable, so the decision was made to take them back. This is not a pleasant experience for either side. Although unpleasant I will do what needs to be done as I am first and foremost an advocate for the animals in my care. I will work with potential adopters by offering advice, suggestions, and even hands on help if needed, but if adopters are not going to abide by the rules and regulations stipulated in the adoption contract they sign, I will do whatever is necessary for the wellbeing of the animals. Thankfully this does not happen often as it very stressful for all involved. I am happy to say the two we brought back are doing well and are ready to be adopted.

We have quite a few animals available for adoption right now. The two draft mules who came back are a sweet bonded pair. We have several donkey pairs as well as two single mules. All of them would be very happy with a family to dote on them. I love having them here but know they will be so much happier with their own people.

I am looking forward to attending my sixth annual Donkey Welfare Symposium at UC Davis Vet School next weekend. I love the opportunity to be around like minded people who want to learn how to best care for their animals. The chance to learn from veterinarians, equine dentists, farriers, behaviorists many of whom work in third world countries on the donkeys there is an amazing experience. It’s a blast to hook up with friends whom I see only at this venue, once a year.   I will get home and have a couple of weeks to prepare for Equine Affaire which is another fun gig to look forward to and at which I hope to see a lot of you.

The water heaters have been pulled out of storage and electric tea pots at the ready for preparing hot mashes as the weather changes. I hope all of you and your long eared buddies are having a wonderful fall and that the winter will be kind to us all.



President & Shelter Manager








Breaking News!!


The following is from Save Your Ass Long Ear Rescue:




We are very happy and grateful to once again be the recipients of a matching donation challenge. This could not have come at a better time for us. I think due to the fact that winter will not be far away, we have started to get a lot of calls about animals needing to be surrendered. This means we will need more resources to ensure having enough hay on hand. We have every animal that comes in seen by a veterinarian which can and does quickly turn in to a large bill. We will need all the help we can get!

Every donation made between now and November 1, 2018 will be matched dollar for dollar up to $5,000.00!

By taking advantage of this incredibly generous offer you can double the impact of your donation. Doing so will help every donkey, mule, and hinny we care for.

We are so blown away by this act of incredible generosity by donors who wish to remain anonymous.

Please do what you can!




The following is from Chilly Pepper – Miracle Mustang:

Hi y’all,

Thank you for saving the last group of Texas kids. At the bottom of the page you will see a bit of what we are facing with their rehab.

HOWEVER, once again we received a call asking for help. The above kids are some of the ones we were asked to save. (We won’t know for sure which ones we will be able to save until we have the funds to secure them. But if one is already safe, we will save another one)

As Matt is going to be a third of the way there when he delivers the next group of horses to their new homes, this would be the time to save some more lives.

We wanted to give everyone a chance to save these beautiful souls from the slaughterhouse floor and to help save more lives. We are more than willing to “git ‘er done” as long as we can raise enough funds to make it happen.

There is a heavily bred mare, a beautiful branded mustang mare, donkeys, injured kids etc. They all need our help and as always, time is of the essence.

I am heading for surgery on Monday, but it should be an outpatient type of thing, (just replacing my generator), and Matt is ready and willing to go get these kids when he delivers the other 6 to their new homes.

As always, it all depends on you. We will keep doing the work if we have the funds to do so. Out of the last 9, 6 are heading to their forever homes. As you can see by the pictures below, there are 3 who need intensive care and they will remain at Chilly Pepper for the time being. BOTH of the mare’s front hooves are in horrific shape, and she will need major care. Our beautiful Princess Sahreena was emaciated and she will need lots of love and care. She also came in with some pretty gnarly injuries, but they are healing well.

Please help us save the “new kids”. We are looking at about $6000 plus to hopefully save 9? more lives, including transportation, rescue and vetting to get them home.

Again, this is not our “normal rescue”, but since Matt is already headed that way, we got the call, and the timing is perfect to combine the two, we are definitely willing to go the extra mile if you want to save these kids and keep them off the slaughter truck.


You can go to gofundmel

You can go to Paypal

if you would like to help these horses.

                                                                           ->You can donate via check at:

Chilly Pepper – Miracle Mustang,

295 Old Hwy 40 East, # 190

Golconda, NV 89414

You can also donate via credit card by calling Palomino at 530-339-1458.



Chilly Pepper – Miracle Mustang, WIN Project – Rescue & Rehab

We are now part of the WIN Organization

WIN (WILD HORSES IN NEED) is a 501c3 IRS EIN 55-0882407_

Donate to Help

SYALER eNewsletter


The following is from Save Your Ass Long Ear Rescue:

August 14, 2018

Ears the news…

These two donkeys are simply adorable and at first glance they look very happy and well cared for. They came from a hoarding situation. SYA has been able to help their owner by taking in donkeys from her as she was emotionally able to part with them over the last five years or so. There is no doubt that she loved them all dearly. The woman is in her eighties and in poor health. I am not sure of how long it’s been since she has been able to go outside as she is wheelchair bound, let alone to do anything with or for the donkeys. These two beautiful cousins had been living in a filthy barn/stall/paddock area. Their manure had not been cleaned in years. The only water they had available to them was about six inches of green, thick scummy soup, and full of rotting leaves. Their hooves look ok in this picture, but several have major flares, and one has part of a hoof wall missing. In fairness to their owner, she did have someone in to “care” for the donkeys but was obviously unable to check and see how the donkeys were faring.

As is often the case with donkeys it seems, rather than being too thin, they are very overweight. They both have fat pones on their necks and flanks. Obesity in donkeys is something we see more often than underweight animals, and is in my opinion, a form of neglect. Donkeys are NOT little horses with big ears. They are a species that has evolved very successfully over a very long period of history getting by on very little forage, of often fairly poor nutritional value, that they had to walk over miles of stony, rocky, hard ground to reach. We plop them down in rich, grassy pastures and are then surprised when they develop hoof and other health issues.

I would rather take in animals that are too thin as it is so much easier to put fat on to a donkey than to take it off. A fat donkey is not a healthy donkey. I recommend a dry lot for all donkeys for at least part of a 24 hour period. They do need to graze for their behavioral needs to be properly met, but their grazing time needs to be supervised. Please be aware that allowing a donkey to become obese is shortening their overall life span and can, and often does lead to a myriad of other health related issues.

I am very happy that we are able to take in animals like these and get them on a regulated feeding program and an exercise plan that will help them slowly lose some excess pounds. A great way to help us do this is to join our Take a Long Ear to Lunch program. This enables you to make an on-going monthly donation to SYALER. All of our money to run the rescue comes via adoption fees, merchandise sales, and donations. The grants available for donkey rescue are very specific and we do not qualify for many. Any grant writers out there who want to donate their time and expertise would be more than welcome! Your monthly gift of any amount goes right into our operating cost fund and helps with everything from buying hay, supplements, equipment, to veterinary and farrier costs. Knowing we can count on a certain amount each month is a very comforting.  To become a member of the program use the following link for complete details. Take a Long Ear to Lunch!

Summer will be winding down soon and I am looking forward to crisp, fall days already. We have a lot of fun things coming up. Our annual Benefit show will be held at Millot Green, Alstead, NH on Saturday, October 13th. A week after that I will be heading out to U.C. Davis Vet School for yet another Donkey Welfare Symposium. I am looking forward to that as it is always a wonderful chance to meet up with donkey friends I only see once a year at this event, and to learn more about how to give the best care possible to the animals we take in to the rescue. November brings Equine Affaire which is always a fun, if not exhausting gig. We are working on a couple of ideas for seminars/workshops at the rescue. We’ll keep you posted on those.

I hope to see you out and about at our upcoming events.



President & Shelter Manager








SYALER eNewsletter


The following is from Save Your Ass Long Ear Rescue:

June 23, 2018

Ears the news…

Well, May certainly flew right by! Thank you to all who attended our Open House. We had a great day weather wise and had a great turn out. It was wonderful to see old friends and to make new ones. The adoption of two donkeys resulted from the day! Our friends Jessica, Larkin, Emerson, and Nicole from Empowered Equestrians did their usual FABULOUS job of introducing people to the joys and power of training using positive reinforcement.

It’s hard to believe that we are more than half way through June already. It seems like little Sassy was just born but she is on her way to her three month birthday. She gets cuter and sassier by the day. I am surprised that she and her mom have not yet been adopted. They will make a great addition to someone’s barn yard.


We have a lot of animals available for adoption right now. Having bonded pairs makes it more difficult to place animals but we do what is best for the animals and a singleton donkey is not a happy camper. Donkeys need another donkey as a buddy for their behavioral and social needs to be properly met. For that reason we only adopt out donkeys in pairs unless it is to a home that already has a donkey. Yes, many donkeys live with goats or horses as companions, but there are published studies validating the fact that when given the choice donkeys will choose another donkey as their companion.

We also do not adopt out donkeys to be used as guardians. I get a lot of “yeah buts” on this one. Yes, sometimes it can work with the larger donkeys. Most often it does not. I once took in a donkey jennet that had been a guardian to a herd of goats for 17 years. She was with the kids when they were born every year. The year I took her in she had killed all the kids that were born that season. Why? Who knows? I have heard stories like this repeatedly and have taken in other donkeys due to similar, though not on such a large scale, situations. Thinking of using a mini donkey as a protector is just silly. I have seen donkeys horribly wounded by a single dog.   Those of you who know me, know that I will always do what is best for the animals in my care. If some folks don’t like my rules, or me for enforcing them, I’m ok with that.

I would like to officially welcome Meg Dionne to “Team SYA”. Meg does an unbelievable job of cleaning up after these manure making animals. When she is done cleaning a paddock it looks as if it has been vacuumed!!! She is awesome, has a wonderful sense of humor and if I dare say, is just a bubble off plumb, so she fits in perfectly! We love her!

I would be remiss if I did not mention how thankful I am to Mike Dunham, Annie Kellam, Andria Elliot, and of course my right hand gal Hannah. I could not do this without them. I am also, as always, deeply grateful to those who donate so generously to make sure we are able to give the best possible care to the donkeys and mules we take in to the rescue.

Get outside. Hug your long ears, and enjoy these lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer!



President & Shelter Manager








SYALER eNewsletter


The following is from Save Your Ass Long Ear Rescue:

Ears the news…

It seems as though summer is in a hurry to leave. This morning was downright chilly. Fall is definitely in the air. The donkeys and mules feel it too. There has been a lot of running and bucking and farting happening in the pasture today. I have been getting calls from folks who are going to be needing to surrender their animals before winter comes. We have had a good summer for adopting out animals, with three donkeys and the adorable mini horse we have going to their new home shortly.

We have five animals in the rescue currently, four standard donkeys and a hinny, who all need a lot more training/handling/behavioral work done with them before they will be ready to be put up for adoption. We work with them almost daily, but it’s been slow going with this group. I am confident that they will come around in time, but in the mean time they need to eat and have their feet trimmed and receive veterinary care and it’s putting a strain on our bank account.

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BIG Day of Giving: What Can Your Donation Do?


The following is from All About Equine Animal Rescue:

It’s Finally Here!!  The BIG Day of Giving!!

This event started at midnight and goes for 24 hours. This is a great opportunity to give local now and show the country that our region is #1 as the most generous community on this national day of giving!

This year, our goal is to engage at least 200 donors and raise $10,000 to help us FILL THE BARN to help support our feed and care costs! 

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EMERGENCY ALERT: Danger on Capitol Hill


The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

I’m sorry to have to give you some devastating news. In the wee hours of Monday morning, Congress released a 1,600+ page spending bill for 2017. Buried on page 804 is Section 116, which allows the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to strip wild horses and burros of federal protection and “immediately” transfer them to state and local governments for use as “work animals.”

But with no definition of work animal, and no limit to the number of horses and burros that can be transferred, this language could provide a back door route to killing thousands of these national legacy animals. Although Congress added language prohibiting commercial slaughter and putting some restrictions on “euthanasia,” signalling its intent to prevent the killing of healthy horses. However, ambiguities and loopholes in the language leave it open to abuse. Especially at risk are the older mustangs and burros, now protected under federal law. Under the language these majestic, elder animals could be killed simply due to “advanced age,” a term that is undefined.

We can’t let this stand…Congress should not be allowed to undermine the will of the American people and a unanimously-passed Act of Congress – the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act – through a last-minute spending bill. 

We have just hours to make our voices heard… Please click below NOW to call and send a message to key appropriators asking them to strip this devastating provision that could result in the killing of thousands – and potentially tens of thousands — of America’s cherished wild horses and burros.

If you do one thing for wild horses and burros, please do this now!

Take Action

Ears in the News


The following is from Save Your Ass Long Ear Rescue:

I think spring is finally here! The mules are shedding like crazy and I saw a little sparrow with a long piece of mule tail hair in its beak heading into the willow tree. The mud has dried up for the most part and we are in full swing getting things spruced up for our upcoming TENTH! Anniversary Open House on May 13th . I hope you can make it! Details are on the website and SYA’s Face Book page.

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SYALER Cabin Fever Auction


The following is from the Save Your Ass Long Ear Rescue.

The February doldrums are upon us, and at Save Your Ass Long Ear Rescue, we have a full house of donkeys and mules snuggled down in beds of fluffy shavings with piles of hay keeping them warm and cozy as they wait for new homes. In the meantime, the humans of Save Your Ass are keeping busy with their care, as well as planning our 2017 fundraisers to support the rescue in the upcoming year.

Our next event, which is guaranteed to bring some fun into the dark days of winter, is the annual Cabin Fever Online Auction which will be held from March 5th to March 12th on our special Facebook Auction page. We are reaching out to you to ask if you would consider donating an item to this 2017 event. Over the years we’ve auctioned off a little bit of everything – travel, art, handcrafted items, services, gift certificates, produce, baked goods, clothing, equine items, animal training, collectibles, household items – you name it! We welcome and appreciate all donations, large, medium or small.

The auction generates a lot of interest (and competitive bidding!), and the proceeds allow us to carry out our mission of helping donkey and mules in need. In 2016 we placed 40 long ears – a new record!

If you are interested in making a donation of any kind, please email Joan Gemme with the following information.

Deadline for donation submission is February 28.

  1. Item Name
  2. Short description
  3. Donor Name
  4. Website (if applicable)
  5. Donor email
  6. Item Value (including a rough shipping cost)
  7. Opening Bid

Please attach a photo, logo, or any other image that will appear with your item. As in the past, we request that the donors be willing to arrange shipping, delivery or pickup of their item to the winning bidder.

Please email Joan Gemme with any questions, or phone at 413-559-8414 evenings.

Thank you for your support!

Click Here To Visit SYALER

Save Your Ass Long Ear Rescue Update: Slick, etc.


The following is from the Save Your Ass Long Ear Rescue.

We have had a busy start to the new year here at the rescue. Lots of new animals have joined the herd. They will all be brought up to date on their vaccinations, get a clean bill of health from our veterinarian, then you will see them available for adoption on our website.

All of the animals have been wonderfully healthy and have been getting through the winter just fine… until last Sunday morning. When I looked out the window, cup of coffee in hand, just observing the mules hanging out across the driveway in the paddock closest to the house I noticed that my favorite rescue mule Slick was holding a hind leg up. He put it down and lifted his other hind leg, put that down and did the same with both front legs, then back to lifting the hind legs again. This was not normal. I bundled up and went out to check on him to find him shaking and unwilling to move.

It took me quite a while to get him into a stall where I was able to check his vitals. Other than a slightly elevated temperature, all vitals were fine, no digital pulses, but something was very wrong.

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The Veterinarian’s Role in Equine Abuse Investigations


The following is an article from The Horse.

The Veterinarian's Role in Equine Abuse Investigations

Photo: Courtesy of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Veterinarians must know how to properly document findings and avoid destroying evidence while still putting the horse’s welfare first.

How a veterinarian goes about examining and treating allegedly abused horses can mean the difference between a successful or unsuccessful case against the owner. He or she must know how to properly document all findings and avoid destroying evidence while still putting the horse’s welfare first.

Nicole Eller, DVM, a Minnesota-based field shelter veterinarian with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ Field Investigations and Response team, described the veterinarian’s unique role in animal crime scene investigations during her presentation at the 2016 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Dec. 3-7 in Orlando, Florida.

First, she reviewed the basics of evidence identification, collection, and preservation. “Evidence is generally defined as anything that can demonstrate or disprove a fact in contention,” said Eller. In equine abuse investigations, this can include anything from photos of a horse’s injuries or body condition to the moldy hay in his feeder.

Veterinarians must view these cases through the lens of someone looking for and collecting evidence. As the equine expert, the veterinarian will recognize key pieces of evidence that other investigators might overlook.

Eller then described the four phases of processing an animal crime scene.

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Donation Brings Companion To Kona’s Most Famous, Loneliest Donkey


The following is an article from West Hawaii Today.

KEALAKEKUA — Loneliness isn’t just a human phenomenon. Its existence has been well documented throughout the animal kingdom, from elephants to primates to canines.

It’s even prevalent with donkeys, the beasts of burden that served a fundamental function in the development of the coffee industry on Hawaii Island.

Just this week, perhaps the island’s most famous donkey — Charlie, the 30-year-old pack animal who has spent the better part of the last 15 years as a staple of the Kona Coffee Living History Farm — finally found himself a friend to share the load.

The Kona Historical Society, which operates the farm, announced Tuesday that its crowd funding campaign, “Charlie Needs a Bestie,” had resulted in the donation of a 6-month old donkey.

“We used to joke his only friends were chickens,” said Gavin Miculka, assistant program director at the Kona Historical Society.

“And those chickens were kind of selfish friends, because they’d just come around when he was eating and steal all of his food,” added Carolyn Lucas-Zenk, volunteer coordinator and development associate with the society. “He’s getting old in age. We wanted him to have a friend. Wouldn’t everybody want a friend instead of being here lonely, by yourself, with some selfish chickens?”

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The following is an article from Horse & Hound.

An animal charity has called for a halt to the global donkey skin trade after finding shocking welfare concerns and suffering on a mass scale.

The Donkey Sanctuary has conducted an investigative report into the trade, titled Under The Skin, and has found that as many as 10 million donkeys are at risk.

It is lobbying for an immediate end to the trade until it can be “proven to be sustainable and humane.”

“We have seen reports of donkeys being skinned alive, being bludgeoned to death, being transported for long distances with no opportunity to rest, feed or drink,” said Alex Mayers, the charity’s international program manager.

“The welfare of any donkey, both during and at the end of its life, is paramount and should be the primary concern, as for any food-producing animal.

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There Are 100 Million Working Horses, Donkeys & Mules in the World– We Want to Help Them All


The following is an article from The London Economic.

There are 100 million working horses, donkeys and mules in the world. They are the tractors, taxis and engines that power developing economies, working in the construction industry, carrying food and water, and transporting goods to market. It’s estimated that each animal can support a family of six, so around 600 million people’s lives are supported by a working equine – 8% of the world’s population. Without healthy working horses, donkeys and mules, they wouldn’t be able to put food on their tables, send their children to school or build better futures for themselves and their families. However, it’s estimated that more than half of these animals suffer from exhaustion, dehydration and malnutrition as a result of excessive workloads and limited animal health services

Brooke is an international charity that protects and improves the lives of working equines. The UK based charity works to deliver significant and lasting change, even in some of the world’s most challenging areas. Their teams concentrate on training and support for owners of owners and handlers, as well as local vets, farriers, harness makers and animal traders to improve standards of care. They operate in 11 different countries, and fund small projects in others. Brooke also conducts research, and works with policy makers to make overarching changes to the way governments tackle working equine welfare.

One of the countries that Brooke works in is Kenya, a country with almost 2 million donkeys. Around 50% of people live below the poverty line, so these animals support many people’s lives in both urban and rural areas, transporting food and fuels. Brooke has been working through local partners in the country since 2011, and opened an office in Nairobi in 2013, with programmes stretching from Turkana County in the North to Kajiado in the South. The work focusses on bringing communities together to make donkey welfare a group priority, with a financial focus.

©Brooke/Freya Dowson.


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How You Can Help Stop Horses, Camels and Other Animals Suffering On Your Holidays


The following is an article from Wander Lust.


“You don’t have to be very bright to see if an animal looks like it’s on Death Row,” says Jeremy Hulme, Chief Executive of animal welfare charity SPANA. “If you’re looking at a horse or mule, and it’s head is down, it’s looking thin and its bones are sticking out, it’s obviously not right. If it’s limping, you know it’s got problems.”


Most savvy travelers are now clued up on how animal experiences, from elephant rides to tiger temples, might be harmful to animals. Less attention is paid, though, to horses, donkeys, mules and camels put to work in the tourism industry, which is why SPANA has launched a Holiday Hooves campaign.

Thousands of animals are used in travel experiences, from camel rides and horse-drawn carriages to mules carrying gear on expeditions. The animals are often essential to their owners’ livelihoods, but in some cases are cruelly treated, neglected or kept in poor conditions.

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Study Team Pinpoints Mutation Responsible For Albino Donkeys on Italian Island


The albino donkeys on Asinara Island. The animals will often seek shade among the derelict buildings during sunny days. Photo: Dirk Hartung CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The gene mutation responsible for albinism in donkeys on the Italian island of Asinara has been identified by researchers.

A unique albino donkey sub-population lives on Asinara, which was closed to the public in 1885 to become an Italian quarantine site and later a prison colony. The 52 square kilometre island, northwest of Sardinia, is now a national park.

The 100 to 120 albino animals live with coloured − usually grey − donkeys on the island. They interbreed, with no estimate available on the size of the hybrid population.

Luca Fontanesi and his University of Bologna colleagues, in a short communication in the journal Animal Genetics, said the origin of the island’s white donkeys was uncertain and based only on legends. It was possible, they said, that they dated back to before the closure of the island to the public in the late 1800s.

There has been no direct human intervention in the management of the donkeys for more than a century.

The researchers delved into the genetic basis of the donkeys’ albinism, with the animals displaying a completely white coat colour, a lack of pigmentation in the skin, hair, eyelashes and eyebrows, and eyes that are light blue.

These donkeys have poor sight and during sunny days will shelter inside the unused buildings of the prisoner colony.

The study team suspected a mutation in the TYR gene was responsible for the albinism and they were proven correct after analysing data from genetic sequencing of seven Asinara albino donkeys and six coloured donkeys.

They found what is known as a missense mutation, in which a change codes for a different amino acid. In this case it affected copper binding, ultimately resulting in a lack of pigmentation.

The findings were confirmed in genetic testing of further donkeys. In all, 82 were tested.

The study team said the isolation of the population and high inbreeding might be behind the increased frequency of the TYR mutation.

They said the identification of the cause of albinism in the donkeys added a new natural animal model for this particular form of the condition in humans.

Utzeri, V. J., Bertolini, F., Ribani, A., Schiavo, G., Dall’Olio, S. and Fontanesi, L. (2016), The albinism of the feral Asinara white donkeys (Equus asinus) is determined by a missense mutation in a highly conserved position of the tyrosinase (TYR) gene deduced protein. Anim Genet, 47: 120–124. doi:10.1111/age.12386

The short communication can be read here.

Brooke Beats the Odds to Help Out Two Million Working Equines


Equine charity Brooke has met its goal of reaching two million working horses, donkeys and mules in a single year.

The ambitious goal to reach this vast number of working horses and donkeys to relieve their suffering and improve welfare through training, research and treatment was set almost six years ago.

It is estimated that at least 100 million equines are supporting more than 600 million people in the developing world. The majority of those animals are suffering from exhaustion, dehydration, malnourishment, crippling injuries, lameness, and/or contagious diseases, nearly all of which can be prevented with proper training for their owners.

Measuring the impact of its work is a key focus for Brooke. In 2016, in Nepalese brick kilns where Brooke works the number of animals with eye problems fell by 42%. In Brooke projects in Nicaragua the number of severely underweight animals was reduced by 31% and Brooke Pakistan reduced by 16% the number of animals in their coal mine projects with severe wounds. In the UK, Brooke now has 30 community fundraising groups passionate about raising money for the cause, and almost 10,000 new supporters have jumped on board this year alone.

“Reaching two million horses, donkeys and mules in a year is one of our proudest achievements,” said Chief executive Petra Ingram said.

“We’re so grateful to our donors for enabling us to offer support to so many animals. This success paves the way for the future of Brooke. By 2021 we want to reach even more working horses, donkeys and mules in the greatest need. And we want to ensure that Brooke makes a lasting difference to animals’ lives – so they continue to benefit for generations to come.”


US donors had also contributed to the year’s success, through its American fundraising affiliate Brooke USA.

Brooke USA Chairman Dr David Jones said the organisation would rely on its donors in coming years “as we strive to expand and reach our next goal of five million animals each year by 2021.”

In a huge milestone for Brooke’s global animal welfare and advocacy work, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) announced this year the first set of welfare standards for working horses, donkey and mules. Furthermore contribution of working equines to food security was officially recognised by the UN in livestock recommendations formally endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS).

“This means that the needs of countless horses, donkeys and mules who have laboured for so long without recognition can no longer be ignored. They’re on the international agenda – giving Brooke a hard-won opportunity to reach more of the world’s 100 million working equines than ever before,” Ingram said.

Heralding this new chapter, Brooke launched its new brand in 2016, including the new strapline “Action for working horses and donkeys” to create instant understanding of the charity’s work and the role of animals in the everyday life in a world where fewer than 20% of people have access to a motor vehicle.

Brooke currently works primarily India, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kenya, Egypt, Ethiopia, Senegal, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and has pilot projects in several other developing countries.

Brooke appointed five new trustees including three from countries where it works, helping to bring it closer to the communities that rely on working animals.

Brooke’s new overseas trustees are CEO of Change Alliance in India, Belinda Bennett, CEO of Emerge Africa Ed Rege, based in Kenya, and Cheikh Ly, from Senegal, a veterinary school full tenure professor. The UK trustees are Graeme Cooke, the UK’s Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer and former Veterinary Director of the World Governing body of Horse Sport (FEI) and Sarah Arnold, a specialist trust and estates solicitor.


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