Lightening The Burden Of Donkeys In The Holy Land
is something about a donkey that makes us all go a bit soppy. Whether
it is because of Christian religious connotations or the sheer cuddliness
of Winnie the Pooh's depressed Eeyore, there is little doubt that
the humble donkey holds a special place in the heart.
this is not the case the world over and in some countries donkeys,
mules and asses are treated dreadfully through cruelty and neglect
- often the result of a different cultural take on this most endearing
person who has been determined to make a difference is British Lucy
Fensom, who gave up the glamour of being an airhostess for BA to
form Safe Haven for Donkeys in the Holy Land (SHADH) in 2000. People
will be able to see the work of the organisation at first hand at
this year's Midlands Equine Fair to be held at the Three Counties
Showground, Malvern, on 8 and 9 March
had travelled extensively throughout Israel and the Palestinian
Territories, and was horrified over and over again by the maltreatment
of donkeys in the region. Her list of horror stories seems almost
endless - a pregnant mare being hit and run over by a taxi; donkeys
tethered with wire for so long that the tether removed flesh to
the bone; animals being left tied up in extremes of heat and cold
with no water or food; beatings, overburdening and other outrages.
took action, and SHADH is now a registered charity and operates
a rescue centre based just outside the Israeli town of Netanya.
With a small team of local and European colleagues, she has developed
a centre that provides protection and care for abandoned and abused
animals and which works hard to raise awareness of the problem throughout
team is working towards establishing an education programme and
visitor centre. Not only will this activity raise awareness of the
plight of donkeys in the region, it will also provide a base from
which educational and veterinary outreach campaigns can be conducted.
currently looks after 51 donkeys at the rescue centre, and many
more out in the field as part of an ongoing welfare programme. Lucy
and her team have great plans for changing the cultural appreciation
of donkeys in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, which in turn
will improve the conditions in which many of these animals live.
However, despite Herculean efforts there is just six months of funding
left in the pot and the future could look bleak for Lucy's donkeys
if no further funding is forthcoming.
are many ways in which people can help," said Lucy. "We
run an 'adopt-a-donkey' scheme which is very popular, and there
are capital projects that we need to undertake that individuals
or businesses can sponsor in return for all our help in raising
their profile. But any source of income - from donations, legacies
and other forms of charitable giving - is most welcome. Indeed,
the future of our donkeys depends on it."
to the Midlands Equine Fair will have the ideal opportunity to discuss
SHADH with Lucy and her team, and to look at ways that they can
help. The charity runs a website - www.safehaven4donkeys.org
- and it can be reached at its address of SHADH, PO Box 2400, Hove,
East Sussex, BN3 4AL.
for the Midlands Equine Fair are available in advance from Contour
Exhibitions & Events by calling 08700 115007 and advance booking
discounts are available. Further information and leaflets are available
by calling 01884 841644, or by logging on at www.contour.uk.net.