Horse News

Feel Good ‘Palm’ Sunday: The Plight of God’s Beast of Burden, the Donkey

By Marjorie Farabee of WHFF and TMR Rescue

“…the donkey asks for nothing in payment other than to be treated fairly…”

Today of all days, I am struck by the hypocrisy of people who want the wild burros gone from their rightful lands. On this week of Christ’s trial and resurrection I am reminded of the humbleness of the donkey, and his designation in the Bible as the animal that represents peace. On this week, I think of the Bible stories that tell of the many roles played by the humble, peaceful donkey in Christ’s life and times. Throughout the Bible and also other religious texts, the donkey plays a major role. In the desert there could be no greater partner than the donkey who can survive four days without water and acted as a water diviner when allowed to follow their instincts. The donkeys carried goods and people great distances while needing little to survive. Even now, scientists are tracking donkey fossils to determine the spread of human civilization around the globe for they were always the chosen beast of burden carrying goods afar in trade.

Yes, we owe much to the donkey. Yet, the donkey asks for nothing in payment other than to be treated fairly. On the day Jesus was born a small donkey stood vigilant over the cradle of Jesus, and Balaam was warned by a donkey given speech to not betray the Jews. Then, on Palm Sunday the donkey rode into Jerusalem with Jesus aboard in a semblance of peace and servitude. Yet, now, everyday we read of violent acts committed against this kind animal. Jesus and God loved the donkey, yet today the wild donkeys are violently treated by hunters and game managers who call them pests and vermin. And, domestic donkeys are starved, beaten and treated with malice. These same people would most likely identify themselves as Christian without seeing the hypocrisy of their actions toward their own religion as they ask to remove donkeys by whatever means possible. They ask to issue hunting permits, and issue roundup orders. They ask to send these sublime animals given as a gift to all of us, to slaughter. And, now to add to all of the pressures on donkeys to survive we have the Chinese skin trade. It hurts my heart.

On this week of trial and resurrection my hope is that the donkey will rise again as a creature who is appreciated and understood in the way that he is by God. I pray that the humble donkey will at last be rewarded by finding a way to bring out what is good in all of us. At long last, a resurrection of the altruistic side of humankind might help people find it in their hearts to provide a small parcel of the planet where they can be safe with their families, wild and unharassed by violence. Or, safely in a warm stable munching hay. I think that on this week of trail and resurrection, Jesus looks down on His kingdom and weeps for the donkey He so loves, and is saddened at them being harmed by the humans He gave His own life to save.

There is a real sadness to His tears for all of us.

15 replies »

  1. Read this and weep for the deplorable way they are being treated in todays world. Th8s is no fault of the donkey. Its the fault of all mankind.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Beautifully written! If we treated animals the way Jesus treated people, the world would be a much better place. I pray for our wild horses and burros, for all animals, for their advocates, that opponents of animal welfare will open their eyes and change their ways, and for God’s kingdom when “There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” – (Revelation 21:4) ❤


    February 26-2017

    Cape Town – A Johannesburg businessman was arrested last week after falsely declaring a shipment of 300 donkey hides at OR Tambo airport. Investigators suspect that the man, a Chinese national, is the leader of a local donkey smuggling ring.

    South Africa’s Animal Protection Act forbids cruelty towards animals. According to Mpho Mokoena, an inspector in the NSPCA’s Farm Animal Protection Unit, large numbers of donkeys have been slaughtered using knives and hammers in rural parts of Limpopo, the Northern Cape, and North West Province.

    “It’s extremely upsetting to see the remains,” Mokoena said.
    In an incident last October SPCA officials intercepted a flatbed truck carrying 41 “crushed, dead or dying” donkeys in Limpopo. Four foreign African men were sentenced to eight months in jail.

    The confiscation at O.R. Tambo took place on February 15 after customs officials noticed a foul smell emanating from 39 boxes labelled ‘cladding’. The boxes were destined for Hong Kong.

    Four days later police raided a farm in Randfontein, confiscating more than 1 000 skins. The premises had been rented by the same man whose fraudulent shipment was blocked. (Police have not yet released the man’s name, which is known to GroundUp, and did not respond to questions in time for publication.)

    “Government is starting to take the illegal skins issue seriously,” said Ashley Ness from the Highveld Horse Care Unit (HHCU), a welfare nonprofit that has been monitoring the trade. “Hopefully this will lead to more arrests.”

    Gumtree South Africa announced on Friday that is was prohibiting all sales of donkeys and donkey skins on its platform. “We decided that extreme measures would be necessary to prevent further unsavoury practises,” spokesperson Claire Cobbledick said.


  3. Are they shipped via air cargo? The airlines can help put a stop to it.

    Court of Appeals rules airlines have right to ban hunting trophies
    MARCH 21, 2017

    Verdict issued against rhino shooter Corey Knowlton, Safari Clubs, & coplaintiffs

    DALLAS, Texas -The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on March 20, 2017 ruled that Delta Airlines is under no legal obligation to carry hunting trophies.

    45 airlines quit hauling trophies from the “Big Five” African species after Cecil the lion was killed in 2015.

    Knowlton, who shot the black rhino he paid the Dallas Safari Club to kill in in May 2015, sued Delta in October 2015,
    alleging along with his co-plaintiffs that
    “Delta’s embargo threatens the tourist safari hunting industry’s entire user-pay, sustainable use-based conservation paradigm.”
    Knowlton and Conservation Force also filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Transportation, alleging they were the victims of illegal discrimination.

    Delta & others banned “Big Five”

    The lower court also dismissed the discrimination complaint, with prejudice, meaning that it could not be refiled.

    The plaintiffs appealed the lower court verdict, but the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld in entirety both the verdict and the legal reasoning behind it.

    Ruling on the case were Judge Rhesa H. Barksdale, appointed in 1989 by then-U.S. President George H. Bush, a life member of the Safari Club, and Judges James E. Graves, Jr. and Stephen A. Higginson, both appointed in 2011 by then-U.S. President Barack Obama.


  4. Great remembrance of these ever-present friends whom in CO we also love as livestock guardians and “ass over the pass” racers in what is truly the state’s native sport!


    • Charlotte, in the video there is an image of Miss Abby pulling a wagon. Walking next to that wagon was my friend Curtis Imrie who was a legend in the pack burro racing world. We were trying to get the sport going in TX, plus he came to help me stop the state of TX from shooting wild burros in Big Bend State Park. Sadly, we lost his great voice recently.


  5. I follow a number of Horse rescues and sanctuaries on Facebook. Some go to sale barns and buy horses and donkeys that would end up going to slaughter if it wasn’t for them! Then they are taken back to the rescues and sanctuaries valuated and in time put up for adoption!! At least this is some good news!! It is so heart breaking hearing all the bad news!

    Liked by 1 person

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