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Amid Growing Threats, Donkey Rescuers Protect The Misunderstood Beasts Of Burden

Mark Meyers is a owner of Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue in San Angelo, Texas. His sanctuaries strengthen some 3,000 animals, creation it a largest dickey invulnerability classification in a world.

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Mark Meyers is a owner of Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue in San Angelo, Texas. His sanctuaries strengthen some 3,000 animals, creation it a largest dickey invulnerability classification in a world.

John Burnett/NPR

Donkeys have been constant beasts of weight for 5,000 years, nonetheless they still don’t get a lot of respect.

In a wild, burro herds are a nuisance. In captivity, they can be mistreated. But in new years, dickey sanctuaries have sprung adult opposite a country. The largest among them is Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue, outward of San Angelo, Texas, where a atmosphere intermittently erupts with a unpeaceable sounds of dickey braying.

Just like a hee-haw, so most about a dickey is species specific. Their spirit — intelligent, discreet and witty — is singular in a equine world. Males and females are called jacks and jennies. And they’re widely misunderstood.

“[People] assume they’re stubborn. They assume they’re stupid,” says Mark Meyers, a owner and executive executive of Peaceful Valley. “So there’s a unequivocally disastrous inference out there, a Bugs Bunny — spin into a dickey when he does something stupid.”

Donkeys Are Finally Getting More Respect

Meyers has turn America’s inaugural dickey defender.

Bored with a electrical constrictive business, he and his wife, Amy, began adopting abused and neglected donkeys during their ranchette outward Los Angeles. By 2005, they had amassed 25 animals, and he motionless to sell his companies and strengthen donkeys full time. They changed out to hot, flat, west Texas 7 years ago.

When Meyers — a burly, white-bearded Buddhist — walks into a pen, he’s mobbed by love-hungry donkeys.

“These donkeys here are some of a envoy donkeys,” he says, patting dual sexual beasts named Buddy and Houdini. “We do open overdo with them. We’re headed to a Topeka Zoo in a few weeks to uncover a people how cold donkeys can be.”

At any given time, his paddocks are home to 1,000 donkeys. Together with a network of sanctuaries sparse around a country, Peaceful Valley has grown into a largest dickey rescue classification in a universe — sheltering some 3,000 sum animals. Half are furious burros private from open lands; half were abandoned, abused or neglected.

But a thought is not to run a home for aged donkeys; a thought is to find them new homes. The plantation gives adult some-more than 400 donkeys a year for adoption since their new owners contend they make good pets.

“Like a unequivocally intelligent dog”

Melissa Schurr, with her 21-year-old jack donkey, Buckaroo, during a plantation nearby Sacramento, Calif. She says donkeys are like dogs, for their intelligence, faithfulness and playfulness.

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Melissa Schurr, with her 21-year-old jack donkey, Buckaroo, during a plantation nearby Sacramento, Calif. She says donkeys are like dogs, for their intelligence, faithfulness and playfulness.

John Burnett/NPR

“Hi, Buck … we wish a cookie?” calls out Melissa Schurr in a singsong voice. The equine dentist approaches her 21-year-old speckled jack, Buckaroo, on a plantation where they live outward of Sacramento, Calif.

Meyers helped her adopt Buckaroo, who was a furious dickey in western Arizona in his youth.

“Donkeys are unequivocally dog-like creatures. They’re loyal, they’re sweet. It’s like a unequivocally intelligent dog — a limit collie — and a best equine we ever had, wrapped adult in one animal,” Schurr says.

“We’ve had to change how we close a gates. He’ll watch we and figure out how to open gates,” she adds, rubbing a bulb of Buckaroo’s ears. In response, he closes his eyes and nuzzles her shoulder. “We have to fasten everything. You can’t only tie it. He’ll extricate it. They’re unequivocally smart.”

The Bureau of Land Management estimates there are some-more than 13,000 furious burros on open lands in 5 Western states — though thousands some-more are uncounted. (Some semantics: donkeys are domesticated; burros are wild.)

Feral populations can turn a nuisance. Burros tainted springs, overgraze, raid a belligerent and expostulate divided local species.

Kevin Goode, a special partner during Texas Parks Wildlife, says in a outback, burros are wild.

“They are unequivocally skittish,” Goode says. “They are unequivocally aggressive, both towards humans and other animals. They don’t play good with others.”

In a aged days, people shot troublesome burros. Today, land managers typically endure them until a flock gets so large it has to be private or culled. Captured furious burros afterwards have to be gentled adult before they can be adopted.

Later this month, Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue will send trailers, wranglers and herding dogs to Ajo, Ariz., to turn adult some 500 donkeys that have wandered over from Mexico onto open extending land. Crossing a limit might have saved their lives.

The U.K.-based animal rights organisation Donkey Sanctuary reports that Mexico is one of 21 countries that slaughters donkeys and exports their hides to China, that uses them to make a renouned normal medicine.

“Quite simply, supply has not kept adult with demand,” says Donkey Sanctuary campaigns manager Simon Pope. “Wild populations of donkeys around a universe are being looked during and sized adult as intensity reserve to feed into this trade.”

Donkeys with “kill tags,” wait in trade pens in Eagle Pass, Texas, unfailing for slaughterhouses in Mexico. Chinese are shopping adult dickey skins around a universe to use in creation normal medicine.

Julie Caramonte/Equine Welfare Alliance and Wild Horse Freedom Foundation


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Julie Caramonte/Equine Welfare Alliance and Wild Horse Freedom Foundation

Donkeys with “kill tags,” wait in trade pens in Eagle Pass, Texas, unfailing for slaughterhouses in Mexico. Chinese are shopping adult dickey skins around a universe to use in creation normal medicine.

Julie Caramonte/Equine Welfare Alliance and Wild Horse Freedom Foundation

Mark Meyers and other animal rights activists news that some-more donkeys and burros are being sole to “kill buyers” in a U.S., and exported to Mexican slaughterhouses to feed a omnivorous tellurian skin market.

“China has increasing a direct for dickey hides to 4 million a year,” he says. “They’ve decimated their possess dickey herds. They’ve decimated several African nations’ dickey herds. So now they’re branch to South America and Mexico.”

So a people during Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue trust their work is some-more obligatory than ever.