The Donkey Sanctuary Celebrates Its 50th Year of Saving Donkeys

The Donkey Sanctuary was founded in 1969 by Elisabeth Svendsen, MBE, with the goal to transform the quality of life for donkeys, mules, and people worldwide through understanding, support, and life-enhancing relationships.

Their vision is to see a world where donkeys and mules live free from suffering and their contribution to humanity is fully appreciated and valued.

Donkeys are highly intelligent animals, sociable, calm, and capable of independent thinking and decision making. They have been a cornerstone in human existence and have been used in farming and as transportation – they pull plows and carts, deliver goods to market, and collect water from wells.

According to the sanctuary, there are over 44 million donkeys worldwide and many of them are neglected, abused, overworked and left to die. “This happens due to a lack of education, a lack of understanding of what good care looks like and the hardships of day to day life facing families and communities across the world,” reads the website.

In the Donkey Sanctuary, they provide a safe haven to donkeys who have been neglected, abused, and abandoned. They provide lifesaving veterinary care, train vets, and educate current and future donkey owners.

Today, they have ten sanctuaries around the UK and Europe, giving tender loving care to over 6,000 donkeys and mules and through their work, they have reached approximately 1.8 million donkeys and mules in 34 countries globally.

Though Dr. Svendsen passed away in 2011, the sanctuary continues to improve the lives of donkeys, adhering to her motto that “donkeys come first, second and third.”