How One Snapped, Dangling Leg Changed a Heart Forever

Horseracing Wrongs

With Derby Day tomorrow, I share this from one of our readers…

I will never forget the horse’s name who changed my view of horse racing forever. His name was “Mariano Intheninth.” He died 2 years ago. In the name of horse racing. I grew up in a family who is pretty fond of “going to the races,” so I have been around it my whole life. My dad even owned a couple racehorses when I was a kid. So I did not come to this conclusion lightly. Two years ago, I accompanied my family to the races. Pretty standard stuff. I probably went once every year or two with them. I had no idea that on this particular trip to Churchill, my opinion and life would be changed forever.

We had been there about an hour or so and I walked outside during one of the races to…

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BLM Transfer Provision in Omnibus Outrages Advocates

by Scott Streater, as published on E&E News

“The provision in the latest omnibus bill was requested last year as part of President Obama’s fiscal 2017 budget proposal (Greenwire, Feb. 10, 2016).”

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

The omnibus spending package the Senate approved today contains a provision that would make it easier for the Bureau of Land Management to adopt out or transfer wild horses and burros, reducing the growing number of animals under the agency’s care.

But the provision has angered animal rights advocates, who say it contains too many loopholes to protect thousands of wild horses and burros from being slaughtered.

At issue is a section in the omnibus package to fund the federal government through September — originally requested by the Obama administration last year — that would allow the Interior secretary to “transfer excess wild horses or burros” BLM has removed from federal rangelands “to other Federal, State, and local government agencies for use as work animals.”

The provision would authorize the secretary to “make any such transfer immediately upon request” of a government agency, such as the U.S. Border Patrol. The provision includes language stating that the animals cannot be killed or sold or transferred to any entity that would slaughter them “for processing into commercial products.”

But it allows transferred horses and burros to be euthanized “upon the recommendation of a licensed veterinarian, in cases of severe injury, illness, or advanced age.”

It’s that language that has wild horse advocates outraged.

Ginger Kathrens, executive director of the Colorado-based Cloud Foundation, said BLM “has a history of misinforming the public” about issues related to wild horses.

“Couple this with the vague ‘illness’ and ‘advanced age’ language” in the omnibus provision, “and the potential exists for the killing of thousands of horses,” said Kathrens, a member of the BLM National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board…(CONTINUED)

https://www.eenews.net/eenewspm/2017/05/04/stories/1060054082

‘Cactus Fire’ foal born near Bush Highway brush fire last week

Source: Tuscon News

“We recognize how lucky we are to still have this amazing natural resource in our backyard and despite facing many human-caused challenges, the Tonto National Forest remains one of the most magnificent pieces of “wild” we have left in Arizona.”

SALT RIVER – The Cactus Fire on Bush Highway may have left behind thousands of scorched acres.

But something good came from the ashes: a tiny foal was born, after a pregnant mare gave birth close to the fire.

One concern during the Cactus Fire was that the flames would endanger the Salt River wild horses in the area.

But now, the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group reports that all wild horses in the fires’ vicinity have been located and are safe.

And that includes the very pregnant mare, who gave birth on Wednesday morning not even half a mile from where the fire was raging.

Despite starting his life at such a dangerous time with ashes falling all around, the group reports that the wild colt is doing great.

His name? “Cactus Fire,” of course!

The wild colt’s first day might not have turned out so well were it not for the quick action by Forest Service officials.

[READ MORE: Cactus Fire on Bush Highway expected to grow with planned burn, containment possible]

The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group estimates that less than 1 percent of the horses’ habitat has burned.

[Slideshow: Cactus Fire burns in East Valley]

The group had a chance to thank the fire fighters in person and also sent a heartfelt letter to the forest service. The fire fighters stated that they loved the thank you cards with a picture of the new baby on it.

In the blink of an eye it could have all been gone , states Simone Netherlands, president of the group, “We recognize how lucky we are to still have this amazing natural resource in our backyard and despite facing many human-caused challenges, the Tonto National Forest remains one of the most magnificent pieces of “wild” we have left in Arizona.”

The SRWHMG, who also repairs the fences along Bush highway, is going to make sure that the fences damaged in the fire will be fixed to keep the horses safe. Anyone who sees an injured wild horse can call the emergency hotline.

 Letter to Editor from the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group:

“Letter of Gratitude: To all of the U.S. Forest Service employees, hot shot crews and each of the brave firefighters assigned to the Cactus Fire,

On behalf of 80 volunteers, and the public of Arizona, the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group would like to express our deepest gratitude for your hard and brave work to fight the Cactus Fire.

We do not take lightly the commitment you have shown to our public lands and our community. By assigning the crews and resources – including the lifesaving “bambi bucket” helicopter — to contain a fire that could have threatened all of the Tonto National Forest you saved the critical habitat it provides for thousands of species, including the Salt River wild horses.

We greatly appreciate the open line of communication with the Forest Supervisor as well as with those fighting the fire – including the awesome helicopter crew who gave us fascinating insight into the fire’s progression and the efforts to contain it.
While the fire spread from 20 acres to 200 acres in a matter of hours, and later consumed 800 acres, it was not threatening structures or people and was not the only wildfire burning in Arizona. Yet, you did not take any chances with the Tonto National Forest and we are so grateful for that.

Hotshot firefighter crews battled until 1 a.m. on Tuesday night and on Wednesday, our people stationed at Goldfield, cheered loudly when we saw the green helicopter take off with the bambi bucket. Soon after that the black clouds turned to white and later to small puffs floating here and there. At that point we could, quite literally, breathe again.

For you brave men, we are aware that every time you go into a fire, you face danger and unpredictability and are risking your lives. We know this all too well, as one of our volunteer members is Amanda Marsh. Amanda is the widow of Eric Marsh, the superintendent of the Granite Mountain Hotshots who so tragically perished in the Yarnell Hill Fire in 2013. Amanda Marsh wants us to let you know that Eric, who loved the wild horses, would have been proud of the work that you have done to protect the Tonto National Forest from the Cactus Fire.

Not only did you protect our people, but also you stopped the fire from killing countless wild animals and destroying their habitat.
We are pleased to report that all Salt River wild horses have been located and are safe, including a very pregnant mare we were monitoring. She gave birth to a healthy foal Wednesday morning, less than a half a mile from where the fire was raging. We named the new colt “Cactus Fire.”

Despite facing many human-caused challenges, the Tonto National Forest remains one of the most bountiful and magnificent pieces of “wild” we have left in Arizona. We recognize how lucky we are to have this amazing natural resource in our backyard.”

http://www.SaltRiverWildHorseManagementGroup.org

The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group is an Arizona non-profit organization dedicated to protect, monitor and study the Salt River wild horses. The SRWHMG has documented the herd for almost twenty years and has been spearheading the effort to secure lasting protections for this iconic and beloved wild horse herd in the Tonto National Forest.

Stop The Slaughterhouse on CSU’s Campus

by Becca Bleil

Colorado State University may want to consider changing their name to “Cruelty State University.”

As a freshman at Colorado State University and a member of the Rams Organizing For Animals Rights student club, I was outraged to learn that our school has accepted money from a meatpacking company to build a slaughterhouse in the middle of campus. Construction could begin as early as this summer. CSU needs to cancel plans to build the slaughterhouse now.

It’s already hard enough to concentrate on our studies. Now we’ll be facing the stench and screams of innocent animals in agony every time we walk to class. An on-campus slaughterhouse will mean that living, breathing animals come into the heart of campus and never make it out alive. It will mean that the animals’ organs, hides, and hooves will be transported off campus in trucks, potentially spilling blood, guts and fecal matter onto campus grounds.

Slaughterhouses are not only cruel to animals, but to humans, too. Workers are subject to intense psychological trauma and severe physical injuries such as amputations.

One of the main reasons that I chose to attend CSU is because of the school’s commitment to environmental sustainability. Animal agriculture is a major contributor of greenhouse gases — opening a slaughterhouse on campus is a blatant violation of the university’s core commitment to work towards carbon neutrality.

If this slaughterhouse is built, I along with hundreds of students, have pledged to transfer to another school.  Many incoming students are changing their decision to attend Cruelty State U, too. There is no room for cruelty on CSU’s campus  — in fact, no college campus anywhere should allow an industry that is so violent to animals, harmful to the environment, and dangerous to humans.

If you care about the students of CSU and want this harmful construction to stop, please sign this petition and encourage Colorado State University’s President, Tony Frank, to immediately cancel all plans for building a slaughterhouse of horrors on campus.

*for any inquiries (business/news/personal), please do not hesitate to contact me at becca.bleil@gmail.com*

This petition will be delivered to:

  • President of CSU
    Tony Frank
  • Colorado State University
  • Media Relations, JBS
    Cameron Bruett

https://www.change.org/p/tell-csutonyfrank-nocsuslaughterhouse-on-coloradostateu-campus

HOURS LEFT TO STOP CONGRESS FROM AUTHORIZING BACKDOOR KILLING OF WILD HORSES & BURROS

Source: American Wild Horse Campaign

Stallion of Antelope Valley HMA ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Over the weekend, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees restored language to the 2017 Omnibus spending bill that opens the back door to killing potentially thousands of wild horses and burros. The language amends the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act by stripping them of their federal protections and transferring them to state and local governments ostensibly for use as “work animals.”

With no limit to the numbers transferred and no definition of “work animal,” the language provides a vehicle for delivering thousands, and potentially tens of thousands of wild horses and burros, into the hands of government agencies that actively push for mass roundups and slaughter of these national icons. The Section 116 language can be found on page 804 of this link.

Congress did include prohibitions on commercial slaughter and some restrictions on “euthanasia,” signalling their intent to prevent the destruction of healthy wild horses and burros. However, the restrictions are not enforceable, there is no penalty for violating them, and the many ambiguities and loopholes leave the language open to abuse.  Especially troubling is a provision to allow the killing of “advanced age” animals, a term that is undefined and could result in the destruction of thousands of healthy middle- to older-aged horses and burros.

While defeating this language at this late stage is going to be difficult, the spending bill only funds the government for the next five months. So taking a strong stand now will set the stage for fixing this problem when Section 116 expires on September 30, 2017. 

What You Must Do NOW!

1. Please immediately call these numbers and voice your objections to the committees that approved this devastating last-minute addition to the spending bill. If you don’t reach them this afternoon, please try again in the morning!

** Please remember: the best way to help the horses is to be polite! **

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Chair, Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee
DC office: (202) 224-6665
AK office: (907) 271-3735

Sen. Tom Udall, Ranking Member, Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee
DC office:(202) 224-6621
NM office:(505) 346-6791

Rep. Ken Calvert, Chair, House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee
DC office: (202) 225-1986
CA office: (951) 277-0042

Rep. Betty McCollum, Ranking Member, House Interior Appropriations Committee
DC office: (202) 225-6631
MN office: (651) 224-9191

Here’s what you need to say: I am very upset that Congress has included language in Section 116 of the Omnibus spending bill that will strip up to 50,000 wild horses and burros of federal protections that were passed unanimously by Congress and have been in place for nearly 50 years. Unfortunately, restrictions put in place to prevent the killing of healthy horses and burros are not sufficient to protect these animals, and thousands that currently enjoy federal protection could be killed, or worse, enter the slaughter pipeline.  I urge your office to remove this destructive language from the Omnibus, and if unable, then it must be removed when this spending bill expires later this year.”

Click (HERE) to help further by sending an email

https://act.americanwildhorsecampaign.org/p/dia/action4/common/public/?action_KEY=24755

BLM offers whistle stop tour of wild horses imprisoned at Indian Lakes Rd. facility in Fallon, NV

Once wild horses at Indian Lakes Rd. facility in Fallon, NV (photo:  Debbie Coffey)

Get ready to jump on the wagon for a BLM PR blitz…

Edited Press Release       Source:  BLM

RENO, Nev. —The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will host two free public tours of the Indian Lakes Off-Range Wild Horse and Burro Corral in Fallon, Nevada, on Friday, May 12. Tour attendees will be taken as a group by wagon around the facility to learn about it, the animals, and BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program.

About a 90-minute drive east of Reno, the corral is located at 5676 Indian Lakes Road, Fallon, and is privately owned and operated. The public tours will begin at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and each will last about one hour and accommodate up to 20 people. Attendees should wear comfortable shoes and clothes; hats and sunscreen are recommended, and photography is welcome. On-site portable toilets will be available.

Horses at the Indian Lakes facility are made available to the public for adoption or purchase throughout the year at off-site adoption events and through BLM’s Internet Adoption program. For more information on adoption opportunities, visit https://on.doi.gov/2iByqXD.

To register for the tour or to get driving directions to the facility, please contact the BLM at (775) 475-2222.

 

BLM’s Wild Horse & Burro Program in a Death Spiral

Open Letter by Author Terry Farley

“BLM’s wild horse and burro math is statistically bizarre…”

As a journalist, I first interviewed BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program staffers in 1976, shortly after I moved to Nevada. Since then, I’ve followed the program’s death spiral.

Those who say wild horses and burros ruin the range claim there are too many of them, and yet there’s little agreement about how many wild equines remain on America’s public lands.

BLM’s wild horse and burro math is statistically bizarre. Even the National Academy of Sciences, charged by BLM to analyze the program (2013) concluded: “The Wild Horse and Burro Program has not used scientifically rigorous methods to estimate the population sizes of horses and burros …”

NAS warned “continuation of business-as-usual practices will be expensive and unproductive for BLM and the public it serves.” Worse, NAS pointed out that BLM’s lack of science has actually backfired on its stated goal of protecting the range.

BLM’s reaction? Keep paying independent contractors to chase, trap and corral the West’s remaining wild horses and offer $10 million to anyone who found a new means of mustang birth control.

BLM asked for a new method because PZP “didn’t work,” ignoring recent science and BLM personnel who admitted that — counter to instructions – contraceptives are not always kept frozen or even cold in the field.

Band dynamics: During round-ups, family bands are shattered, routinely divided into stallions, mares and contractor-determined weanlings. Horses are prey animals. They know safety is with the band and the resulting cacophony and blood of these separations is haunting. Fewer than 2 percent are ever reunited.

Injury: Compare injection site abscess to BLM documentation of a single round-up in which 113 mustangs died. Death from shattered pelvises, broken necks, skulls and spine were sometime attributed to natural causes or pre-existing conditions. Those diagnoses would strain my credulity even if I hadn’t been there.

If you still oppose contraception, please consider this: Proponents of selling wild horses without limitation have made in-roads at BLM and those who’d destroy mustang captives as they stand in government pens have visited the White House.

The extermination of a Western icon is near, and your choice can hasten or slow its approach.

PZP is reversible. Death is final.

Panama City Beach “Big Lick” Horse Show Manager Tells CCABLAC (Citizens Campaign Against “Big Lick” Animal Cruelty) Animal Welfare Advocate “You Are A Dead Man”

Posted on BillyGoBoy.com

PANAMA CITY BEACH (FL) –  On Wednesday,   April 26, 2017,  the  Panama City “Big Lick” Horse Show Manager Mr. Todd Fisher assaulted a CCABLAC (Citizens Against “Big Lick” Animal Cruelty) Welfare Advocate Clant M. Seay at the Frank Brown Park by telling him “You Are A Dead Man”.

Mr. Seay is an animal welfare advocate with CCABLAC (Citizens Campaign Against “Big Lick” Animal Cruelty), and Publisher of the www.BillyGoBoy.com website publication.    A month ago,  CCABLAC presented over 100,000 signature Petition to the White House in Washington, D.C., asking President Donald J. Trump to approve a Federal Regulation which would remove the “Pads and Chains” and abolish “Big Lick” Animal Cruelty.

http://billygoboy.com/2017/04/27/panama-city-beach-big-lick-horse-show-manager-tells-ccablac-citizens-campaign-against-big-lick-animal-cruelty-animal-welfare-advocate-you-are-a-dead-man/

Feel Good Sunday: Home Sweet Home for Donkey Survivors of the Skin Trade

By the

The National Council of SPCAs in South Africa is delighted to report a positive, uplifting and heart-warming outcome relating to donkeys rescued from the horrific trade in their skins.

We report that five donkeys have arrived at a beautiful property in Bethlehem in the Free State where they will live out the rest of their lives. The donkeys were adopted according to the standard procedure, which involves a formal application to adopt an animal, including demonstrating that one is able to afford private veterinary fees and committing to looking after the animal for the rest of its natural life.

A further 14 donkeys will travel shortly to a new home. Their adoptions have been approved as all the required administrative procedures have been undertaken.

These donkeys were rescued in the Sani area in early 2017. They were initially cared for at the Sani SPCA, but since their operation is not far from the Lesotho border post, it was feared that the donkeys might be stolen. Their welfare and safety were top priorities, so a decision was taken to move the donkeys to other SPCAs.

The journey to their temporary homes started early on the morning of 24 February 2017, when they were safely loaded into trucks and their journey to the Benoni SPCA and the Kloof and Highway SPCA began. No issues were encountered. Several stops were made en route to Johannesburg to provide water and facilitate checks by our inspectors and veterinarian.

The end of the story is a very uplifting one not only for the donkeys, but for all the dedicated staff involved who worked tirelessly to ensure their safety and to secure their future.

Donkey hide contains a gelatine which is claimed to carry medicinal properties. The gelatine is a key ingredient in China’s ejiao industry, which produces tablets, tonics and a sweet syrup. Donkeys from all over the world are slaughtered, often illegally after being stolen, and their hides exported to China to fuel demand for ejiao.

The “donkey skin trade” continues, but so do our efforts to monitor situations, respond to information received and to take whatever steps may be appropriate when necessary. Criminal charges have been laid in several instances, cases brought before the Courts and convictions obtained. The National Council of SPCAs commits to combatting the scourge of the donkey skin trade tirelessly and steadfastly.

http://animalpeopleforum.org/2017/04/22/home-sweet-home-for-donkey-survivors-of-the-skin-trade/

From the Land Down Under: “China Wants Our Donkeys Dead or Alive!”

OpEd by Andrea Jenkins – Donkeys of Australia

Over the past few months I have read many articles about donkeys. There was one article I read a couple of weeks ago though that really hit a nerve.

The article included a stunning picture of a donkey, gazing out from his paddock. The barb wire that cut across in front of him indicated that he stood just behind a fence. It led me to imagine a stranger stopping road side with camera in hand, readying the exposure for the autumn sunlight and the yellow daisies. He waits, aware that the donkey has his ears pricked and stands attentive to this new energy invading his home. Curious, this gentle, wise creature meanders over to say hello. The stranger shoots and then is gone, taking a moment in time with him to use as he wishes.

I don’t know this donkey personally. Perhaps he is your donkey? Or someone you know? I imagine other photos he stands in, cuddled by the grandkids, lazing in the sun, a beloved family member that sits in frames on the mantelpiece for the world to see.

I’d love to own this donkey, yet I’m happy I don’t. I don’t think I could bare it. The stranger has not taken this particular photo to show how cherished and adored this donkey is. Mortified, I read the caption: good enough to export.

Yes, sadly, this donkey has become the latest face for donkey export to China. He is pitted next to the words of Barnaby Joyce as a creature with a price tag, an economic commodity, an edible product worthy of export. The nerve it struck was raw. It rocked me to my core. How can we be asked to look at this magnificent creature and see it as a dead product being shovelled into the mouths of those that search for a miracle elixir for eternal youth and vitality?

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. Like I said, I’ve read many articles about donkeys over the past few months. In fact, I’ve read, watched, spoken on the phone and data analysed the horrors the ‘insatiable’ appetite for Ejiao brings crashing to our shores.

It’s been extremely challenging for me to witness the creature I love more than anything get decimated in such a brutal way, but I feel I must walk with them through this struggle as they have walked with us through constant struggles throughout time. I must stand with them now and help their voices be heard. It is with their characteristic traits of love, compassion and humility that I proceed to further my education and, hopefully, the education of others, with regard to the issues facing Australian donkeys.

I am sure many of you have read the horrors that are linked with the donkey skin trade. I’m sure you have read that what is, essentially, donkey poaching, has become a regular occurrence in some parts of Africa. I’m sure you have read about the exorbitant prices donkeys are now selling for and the fact that those living in rural villages can no longer afford to replace their donkeys, leaving them without a means to collect their water or send their children to school. I’m sure you’ve heard of the donkey slaughter houses, the string of animal welfare concerns and the shocking statistics that draw many to believe our beloved donkeys are vanishing from this world. I am not sure, however, that you have been able to find much information on the current Australian situation and what it means for Australian donkeys.

So here I am, writing this article for you. It is my aim in writing that I am able to summarise what I have learned, to date, on Ejiao and how this skin trade is expected to affect our Australian donkeys . I am by no means claiming to be an expert on the matter. I am simply one girl who uses Google and the telephone and has been willing to dive into the hay stack, so to speak, and try and find some answers. This brings me to the second aim in writing this article. It is also a desperate cry for help. It is my wish that we may come up with a structure for research and action together as we venture forward with, and for, our beloved donkeys. What I write now details the journey Ejiao has taken me on so far.

When I first heard whispers that China wanted our donkeys, I wrapped myself in the safety net I, and many others, naively believed we had. It seemed that we did not have the numbers of donkeys required to make the idea of donkey export viable. That teamed with the vast and unforgiving landmass the donkeys inhabited seemed to make the cost too much for a return that was far too small. It still seemed that culling was the preferred method of eradication.

Yet, as time passed, donkey populations in China—and globally—started to dwindle, demand for Ejiao skyrocketed, pressure on global markets to supply the increase in demand grew exponentially and the viability of exporting donkeys to China suddenly changed as the price tag kept rising. Pressured with ongoing enquiries the Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry and Resources (NTDPIR) compiled a report into the potential of donkey farming in the Northern Territory (September 2016).

Again, even though the report ultimately found that donkey farming was viable, either as a stand- alone venture or complimentary to the cattle industry, I thought we had a safety net. The safety net seemed to be that there was no Tier 2 processing facility and no operational export protocols to China. Reading that the capital outlay required for such a facility would be somewhere between the $50-$100 million mark and knowing there were no operational protocols for export to China made it sound, again, that the donkeys were to stay on Australian shores.

Yet, as I researched further and talked to more people on the phone I began to understand the saying ‘where there’s a will there’s a way’ really does apply to the situation here. Everywhere I turned looking for the next piece of the puzzle I got offered a piece that didn’t fit. I found that when I stopped allowing myself to get distracted by the technical jargon of protocols I, instead, found a big picture with most of the puzzle already in place. Like I say, I am only one girl and I am fully aware that I have more research to go, yet this is how I have come to see the big picture so far.

China wants our donkeys. The Australian agribusiness sector wants to expand export opportunities and make as much money as possible. Station owners want the feral donkeys gone. Farmers want ways to diversify their stock to get them through tough times. Multi-species abattoirs are being built with heavy Chinese investment. Chinese investment in Australian agribusiness is seen as desirable. Trial kills of donkeys are currently happening. More wild donkeys are already being rounded up. The Coalition Government has recently signed a Joint Statement with China to hugely expand market access for Australia’s red meat and live animal export industries to China. Barnaby Joyce is publicly announcing that Australia will be providing edible donkey skins to China and pushing it as a big, new market. Tariffs on hides and skins exported to China are being eliminated between 1st January 2017 and 1st of January 2022. The price of wild donkeys being rounded up and sold has already drastically increased.

So what does this all mean? Yes, China will be getting our donkeys. There may be a few little things to sort out in terms of protocols but it is happening. No one is standing in the way and stopping things from progressing forward. Most of the information I have read indicates that wild donkeys will be rounded up and breed as livestock for the Ejiao trade. Edible donkey skins will be exported to China. Some of the donkey meat will be sold within Australia as pet meat. Some of the meat will be sold internationally for human consumption. It also seems that, as the export market to China opens up under these new trade agreements, donkeys could potentially be live exported to China as well.

Even as I write that last sentence, my heart breaks a new. Not only will I be living in a country that potentially has no wild donkeys left. Not only will I be living in a country with fields of donkeys tagged and fattened ready for the slaughterhouse truck. I will also be living in a country that makes the conscious choice to send sensitive, emotional, smart, alive creatures on a ship, destined for a place of unfathomable animal cruelty. Do you think you can live in the country I describe? Unfortunately, this is what we are facing.

Of course there are obvious animal welfare concerns as are always evident with creatures subjected to the tortures of live export, yet there are more subtle and insidious concerns at play too. One thing I am concerned about is that wild donkeys are to be rounded up and sold as breeding stock. Will the breeding jennies have any much needed maintenance and care? Will their hooves be trimmed? Will their health be attended to? An ongoing animal welfare issue with the Ejiao trade is the lack of donkey healthcare as it is only the skin that is deemed valuable making money spent on overall health a waste of finances.

Another concern is the distances donkeys will be transported to abattoirs. The multispecies abattoir being built in Charleville will apparently be transporting donkeys from the Northern Territory and perhaps even South Australia. Will these donkeys be given the required rests, food and water? How tightly will they be packed in? If rounded up from the wild and trucked, how are foals and pregnant jennies going to be cared for? How will they be treated as they are rounded up, trucked and, ultimately, slaughtered? As ‘pests’ donkeys are not given the same protective rights as other animals in Australia. I will admit that I don’t know how far their protective rights are striped due to their classification as pests yet it is important to ensure that their welfare is adhered to at all stages of transport and processing.

Yet another concern I have is how will this big, new market be regulated? Can anyone start farming donkeys? How is the government going to monitor who is involved in this trade and how this trade is carried out on a day-to-day basis? As the avenues for export open up, there needs to be regulation on this trade, right from the small, hobby farms to the largest stations in the country, along with any wild stock that are mustered and sent straight to slaughter. Many of the people who are going to be involved are experienced in the needs of cattle and are not educated when it comes to donkeys. It is my desire that, for those joining this industry, they are required to gain further donkey specific education.

Now I write about my biggest concern: that our wild donkeys will become extinct and we will either be left with donkeys stuck in a horrific cycle of breeding and slaughter or with no donkeys left at all. This concern comes from a couple of factors. One factor is that no one knows how many donkeys we have to start with. There has been no accurate headcount of donkeys in Australia ever. Yet those, like Barnaby Joyce, who are pushing donkey skins as the next big industry, claim on a very public platform that Australia has millions of wild donkeys. This is simply not the case. The NTDPIR has a far more realistic estimate of the number of wild donkeys, stating that they believe there are roughly 50 thousand donkeys in the Northern Territory—although this figure is thought to be about ten years old and is not considered reliable. If we don’t know how many donkeys we have in the first place, how can we know if this trade, and the way it is to be carried out, will be sustainable?

Another factor is that, with the current Ejiao demand, upwards of 4 million donkeys are already believed to be slaughtered each year and the global donkey population literally cannot keep up. This is being reported with the dwindling of numbers in different parts of the world. It is believed donkey populations in China have halved, Mexican donkeys are considered endangered and some are predicting that, if things don’t change, the African donkey could be extinct in as little as five years If indeed our donkey population is somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 our donkeys could be wiped out be Ejiao demand in a matter of weeks. Even if farming does occur in the near future, stock numbers will need to be built up and stabilised. This will take time as donkeys have a long gestation period and do not breed well in stressful situations. If export opens up as we expect it could under these new trade agreements and wild donkeys are sent straight to multi-species abattoirs for processing it might not be long before they are all gone.

In conclusion, I would like to ask that we unite in action going forward. I know it might seem too big an issue to tackle or too graphic an issue to engage with. This does not have to be the case. No action towards this cause will be wasted. Everything counts. I know signing petitions may seem pointless but they are not. One petition to help Australian donkeys, that has over 5,000 signatures, has been mentioned in a news articles that details Barnaby Joyce and his new donkey skin trade desires. It is important that we continue to make our voices heard.

Another suggestion for action is to research a small part of the situation here and report it back to the various donkey societies, or to the facebook page I have created. An area for research might be to keep an eye on how many donkeys are being rounded up, record prices of donkeys at auctions and who is buying, figuring out if the abattoirs near you are exporting donkeys, monitor the news for further information etc. If you are happy to engage with media you could look for news reporters and TV hosts that are willing to run a section on Ejiao (in a respectful manner). You could apply pressure on different organisations to get an accurate population count so that we have more reliable information on the sustainability of the skin trade. You could help change the classification of donkeys as ‘pests’ so they are granted more protective rights.

There are so many ways you can help. Even if it means simply sharing your own donkeys with the wider public more and more in an effort to alter common misconceptions associated with donkeys, perpetrated by the Australian media. It is important that more people come to realise how smart, sensitive and loving these creatures are. The more that people connect with the donkeys, the more of a movement we will be able to create to support them through this crisis.

I thank you so much for taking the time to read the article I have put together and I hope it is has been informative. Below, I have added links to information I have collected and the points that have been touched on through this article. I have also attached the ‘Under the Skin’ campaign by the Donkey Sanctuary UK. If you would like to stay updated on the Ejiao trade, please sign up. Lastly, I would like to say feel free to follow my new Facebook page ‘Donkeys of Australia’. I have set it up with the aim of creating an information hub. Thank you once again for reading and I look forward to working with you to ensure a bright and sustainable future for our donkeys.

Links:

Under the Skin https://www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk/under-the-skin

Donkeys of Australia https://www.facebook.com/Donkeys-of-Australia-1088323071303237/

Petitions:

https://www.change.org/p/australian-donkeys-face-being-bludgeoned-to-death-with- sledgehammers-if-live-exported-to-china

https://www.change.org/p/adam-giles-please-don-t-allow-china-to-export-our-australian-wild- donkeys

Barnaby Joyce http://www.news.com.au/finance/business/other-industries/barnaby-joyce-eyes- potential-new-market-exporting-donkey-skins-to-china/news- story/0d2b690a54e020368b939192d97f5526

New Trade Agreements http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/03/24/donkey-meat-beef- agriculture-australia-china-trade-wider-ever

New Trade Agreements http://www.skynews.com.au/news/top-stories/2017/03/24/china-talks- trade–prosperity-with-turnbull.html

Donkey Farming Report https://dpir.nt.gov.au/primary-industry/agricultural-developments/donkey- farming

Multi-Species Abattoir Charleville http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-08/charleville-processing- plant-set-to-open-2017/8004938

AACo Abatoir becomes multi-species abattoir http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-11/aaco- darwin-abattoir-buffalo-slaughter/8012144

Application to export to China under new trade agreements http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04- 07/aust-agricultural-company-applies-access-china-beef-market/8417796

Old article indicating the tone of the media when commenting on donkeys-

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/queensland-to-become-the-ass-end-of-australia- 20090621-csw6.html

AusTrade-Information on Tariffs http://dfat.gov.au/trade/agreements/chafta/fact- sheets/Pages/chafta-opening-new-opportunities-for-australian-products-in-china.aspx