JOIN | SUBSCRIBE | español


The Donkey Sanctuary

“I will keep going and going and going until one day we make a change”. Director of European Operations and son of Elisabeth Svendsen who founded the Donkey Sanctuary in the UK, Paul Svendsen spends his time working to protect the rights of donkeys around the world.


By:  Cecilia Bogaard
 Send to a friend Close X 

Spread the word! A link to this article will be included in your message.

  *Recipient's email address:
  *Your name:
  Personal message (optional):
250 characters max.
 
We do not save or reuse your email address for any other purpose than to send this article to your friend.

(El Refugio del Burrito)
Registered Charity concerned with the welfare of donkeys and mules
Birth: 2003
Location: outskirts of Fuente de Piedra (45 minutes from Ronda)
Stands out for:protecting mistreated donkeys

Probably the most interesting “boring” guy in the Serranía de Ronda, he is a far cry from the image of a animal rights activist who touches on a topic that can at times be heated. His soft-spoken manner hides a character that confronts controversy with knowledge, aggression with collaboration, and obstacles with hard work and strategic brio.

Elisabeth Svendsen was becoming known for rescuing donkeys in the 1960s when she got a phone call from her solicitor; “Are you sitting down? … You’ve been left a legacy of 207 donkeys. If you don’t keep them they will be put to sleep”. Her and her husband sold their hotel and the donkey sanctuary became a registered charity in the UK in 1972. To date, the donkey sanctuary has rescued 12,600 donkeys in England, Ireland and Europe. “I got involved at a very early age. I’ve tried to escape a few times, but there was no way out” (her son laughs).

I caught Paul Svendsen (1957 Stockland, UK) at the Refugio del Burrito (known as the Donkey Sanctuary in the UK) in Ronda on one of his many trips which have taken him across the world setting up projects in countries such as Kenya, India, Mexico, Cypress, and Egypt. “At the moment I am working on the idea of a charity for animals used in factory food because I don’t agree with the way we treat animals we eat”.

SimpleViewer requires Macromedia Flash. Get Macromedia Flash.
This is a WPSimpleViewerGallery


Hidden at the end of a dirt track in the outskirts of Fuente de Piedra (about 45 minutes from both Ronda and Malaga), the Refugio lies on a 15-acre plot which has become home to 124 donkeys. It is the first European rescue centre set up by the Donkey Sanctuary. “I chose Fuente de Piedra in 2003 because I wanted to be somewhere near lots of English people to ensure their initial support. Three years ago, I wasn’t sure we would get Spanish backing, but by this point the Spanish have overtaken the English”. Svendsen started this expansion into Europe against the advice of many who argued that, unlike the English, the Spanish and Italians were not animal lovers. “I didn’t agree. I just think they have not had the same exposure to animal welfare. But since 2003, Spain has had excellent legislation, and within ten years EU law relating to animal welfare will come into place”. The donkey sanctuary is now planning to expand within Spain and into Italy.

Legislative changes have made work far easier for animal rights activists, and “el Refugio del Burrito” recently won the first penal case in Spain against the mistreatment of three donkeys, one newborn. All three donkeys died, while the accused, a man from Alicante, has been sentenced to pay a fine of 6 euros a day for thirty days.

Legislation does not as yet exist at a national level but of the seventeen autonomous communities only two (Murcia and Baleares) have failed to implement laws for the protection of animals. However, Iván Salvía, manager at Fuente de Piedra, explained; “the application of these regional laws leaves much to be desired. I suspect that there exists apathy within the administration which impinges on their effectiveness”. While the Junta passed the law 5/2002 for the Protection of Animals in Extremadura which explicitly prohibits the cruel use of animals in public fiestas, each year they authorize the use of a donkey in the festival of Pero Palo in Villanueva de la Vera (Cáceres). During the festival the donkey is led by a drunken crowd around the village falling over several times. Since 1986 the Donkey Sanctuary has been campaigning against this festival, and combating the belief “si no hay sangre no hay maltrato” (if there is no blood, there is no cruelty) by trying to publicise the stress the donkeys endure. Paul explains; “I’ve always found that the way to change things is not to react quickly and shout against one person. It’s a long-term process. We’ve been working on Villanueva for 20 years and every year we improve it a little, and some years it goes back. But I will keep going and going and going until one day we make a change”.

This collaborative approach has been used in another case of donkey mistreatment in Mijas, famous for its donkey-taxis. “We battled with Mijas for several years. Some owners were hitting the animals and we had lots of complaints. At first they saw us as enemies, but now we work together”. The Refugio is now the official provider of vets for almost seventy donkeys in Mijas, and they have drawn up a code of practice with the Ayuntamiento. “Rather than just criticise we say; this is how we can help. We say treat your animals better and we’ll provide free vets and give them a home when you don’t need them any more”.

As recently as February 2007, the small town of Sort in Cataluña became the focus of attention of many animal rights groups when the Gastronomic Society of Xicoia, who aims to recuperate traditional dishes, sacrificed two donkeys (the national symbol of Cataluña) to make sausage and stew for a party of 400 in a celebration of San Blas, ironically known as the patron saint of animals. “I’m a vegan so I don’t eat any animals anyway, but I think it would be hypocritical to say you shouldn’t eat a donkey if you would eat a cow. If you’re going to eat meat, eat meat. My aim is to have people treat animals with dignity when they are alive”. Iván Salvía, manager at Fuente de Piedra, comments that while this is completely legal (they used an authorised matadero), the slogan they used for the event «Si llevas dentro el burro catalán, haz que tu sueño se haga realidad; cómetelo» is “tasteless”, and does little to promote the cause of donkeys. When asked his personal feelings on the subject, he replied; “Indignation”.

Donkeys are facing problems worldwide as their traditional role is slowly replaced by machinery. “We receive more and more complaints about abandoned donkeys with badly neglected hooves or being cruelly treated. There are an estimated 140,000 donkeys in Spain. Our work has only just begun.” The Refugio del Burrito is dedicated to promoting donkey welfare, but unlike groups such as Aszal, Fuives or Ugra, they are not proponents of breeding or recuperating indigenous races. “Some argue that the Andalucian donkey (Asno Andaluz-Cordobes) is in danger of extinction, but I wouldn’t want to preserve a donkey just because. Originally from Africa, donkeys were not designed to live here. The pure Andaluz donkey is actually very frail and cannot carry its body weight. I believe nature produces animals that are able to survive all conditions, while humans breed animals that look nice or perform a particular function to suit our interests”.

As well as taking in donkeys from throughout Europe, the Refugio runs a fostering program throughout Spain, but only in pairs. “Donkeys form lifetime partnerships and if you move a donkey without its partner they can go crazy looking for each other”. Though living in private homes, these foster-donkeys continue to belong to the Refugio who checks up on them every three months. “If everything is not good we bring them back”.

“Suspicion” is the adjective Svendsen uses to describe the reaction they usually get when they start working in a new location. “People don’t trust that we’re doing something for nothing. Ivan has had death threats against him. Me too. It can be quite challenging in those situations”. Their policy is not to accept money from any governments, but to survive from money coming in from small private donations. “All our farms are open so people can come and see exactly what we do. After three years at Fuente de Piedra, they realise that we bring visitors and the mayor is putting in a new access road for us”. “Suspicion” is the correct adjective to describe the reaction of donkey owners in Mijas. One commented from his seat behind Romero, his burro-taxi, “they want to steal the fame of the Mijas donkey-taxi by sticking up their propaganda. They do nothing. They come here and tell me ‘your donkey is fine’, when I knew that already”.

Video



Getting there?


If you think a donkey is in trouble contact:
Apartado, 25
Fuente De Piedra (Málaga) 29520
952735513 (English), 952735077 (Español)
info(a)elrefugiodelburrito.com


Ver mapa más grande

Links






19 comments

Pon tu propia imagen con Gravatar
El 5 February 2008 a las 7:51 PM, Carolina dijo...

Como puede ser tan cruel la gente. Enhorabuena al refugio por su trabajo.


Pon tu propia imagen con Gravatar
El 5 February 2008 a las 8:05 PM, Juan Verde dijo...

Hay que ser burro para hacerle algo así a un ser vivo.


Pon tu propia imagen con Gravatar
El 6 February 2008 a las 12:38 PM, Carlos dijo...

Vaya llamadita… que caña… anda que cualquiera hubiera respondido como este matrimonio. Enhorabuena por ser así.


Pon tu propia imagen con Gravatar
El 8 February 2008 a las 3:43 PM, Mike Pinter dijo...

Me parece genial que alguien se preocupe de cuidar a unos animales que han quedado relegados casi al olvido. Es una pena cuando no estaríamos aqui si no fuera por el esfuerzo de generaciones de burros que fueron el “camión”, el “utilitario”, el “quad” de los pueblos y las ciudades de España durante cientos de años.

Hace unos días vi un reportaje sobre un pueblo en Italia que ha recuperado los burros para llevar en sacos colgados a sus costados la basura que se va recogiendo en las calles peatonales del casco antiguo de ese pueblo. Pintoresco y practico. El estiercol que van dejando al pasear es recolectado y usado como ferilizante natural en los terrarios municipales.


Pon tu propia imagen con Gravatar
El 25 September 2008 a las 4:04 PM, Lakshmi I. Aguirre dijo...

Una noticia en la Sección Andalucía de El País. No es al Refugio del Burrito, pero creemos que es importante destacarlo por una vez que les prestan atención a los burros: La Reina visita en Rute la fundación para la defensa del burro


Pon tu propia imagen con Gravatar
El 29 November 2008 a las 3:55 PM, maria dijo...

29 de noviembre de 2008
Me justa ver como cuidais a estos animales tan especiales, gracias a ustedes estan teniendo su recompensa.
Tambien quisiera adortar un burrito, ya medireis como y dode mandar el dinero, yò me encuentro en Francia por el momento, pero pronto estaré en sevilla.


Pon tu propia imagen con Gravatar
El 9 December 2008 a las 12:33 PM, Lakshmi I. Aguirre dijo...

Hola María. Es muy sencillo. Sólo tienes que pinchar aquí y elegir la opción que más se adecue a tus posibilidades. No importa que estés en Francia o en Sevilla, ya que todo se puede gestionar vía online.


Pon tu propia imagen con Gravatar
El 26 March 2009 a las 11:55 AM, Alexandra dijo...

Enhorabuena al Refugio por su trabajo.
Apadriné a una burrita y quiero ir a verla en primavera…


Pon tu propia imagen con Gravatar
El 26 May 2010 a las 7:17 PM, asier sarasqueta garitaonandia dijo...

hola:
estaria interesado en adoptar un burro, vivo en murcia y dispongo de un terreno e instalaciones apropiadas para el.
si alguien sabe donde puedo informarme, si es asi os ruego me respondaisa este mail “fussasl@hotmail.com”
gracias


Pon tu propia imagen con Gravatar
El 18 July 2010 a las 11:25 AM, M. Graciela Spúlveda C. dijo...

Hola, en Vinaroz, provincia de Castellón, en la Av. Castellón al lado del parque para perros y a sólo una calle del cuartel de la Guardia Civil, se encuentra en un sitio eriazo abierto, un burro día y noche atado a un árbol poco frondoso con una cuerda que limita sus movimientos puesto que tiene aproximadamente 3 metros, el resto está enredada, y sólo una vez al día va un hombre a dejarle agua y tiene muy poca sombra para refugiarse, no le limpian los excrementos y se alimenta sólo de la maleza que hay ahí.Ojalá alguien pueda tomar carta en el asunto porque el pobre burrito está solo a toda hora. Gracias


Pon tu propia imagen con Gravatar
El 19 July 2010 a las 4:51 PM, Ivan Salvía dijo...

Graciela Sepúlveda:

Por favor ponte en contacto con El Refugio del Burrito, ya sea por teléfono 952735077 o a través del formulario de contacto que encontrarás en este enlace: http://www.elrefugiodelburrito.com/contactar


Pon tu propia imagen con Gravatar
El 19 July 2010 a las 6:30 PM, Pepe dijo...

En Rute, Córdoba, ADEBO (Asociación para la Defensa del Borrico) lleva asimismo años trabajando en favor de estos animales. Es una labor ejemplar.


Pon tu propia imagen con Gravatar
El 27 January 2011 a las 3:13 AM, isa53 dijo...

ME ALEGRA ENORMEMENTE TODA ESA BUENA Y PIADOSA GENTE QUE LUCHA POR EL BIENESTAR DE LOS ANIMALES QUE SUFREN LA CRUELDAD DE CIERTOS SERES QUE PARA MI SON MONSTRUOS CON ENVOLTURA DE HUMANO.ESTOS MONSTRUOS TIENEN QUE HACER MUCHO PARA TRANSFORMAR SUS MALAS CAUSAS Y MAS POR ENSAÑARSE CON SERES INOCENTES Y TAN PUROS COMO LOS ANIMALES.LOS BURRITOS SON SERES TAN DULCES Y APACIBLES DIGNOS DE VIVIR UNA HERMOSA VIDA COMO SE MERECEN ELLOS Y TODOS LOS ANIMALES DEL PLANETA,PUES NADIE TIENE EL DERECHO DE ROBARLE LA VIDA A NINGUN SER VIVO,ESE DERECHO A LA VIDA SE LA OTORGO DIOS Y EL UNIVERSO,Y EL QUE QUITARA ESE DERECHO A CUALQUIER SER VIVO ESTARIA VIOLANDO LAS LEYES DE LA NATURALEZA.VIVAN LOS ANIMALES Y TODA LA BUENA GENTE QUE LOS PROTEGE.QUE DIOS LOS BENDIGA Y ALGUN DIA VEREMOS HECHO REALIDAD TODO EL ESFUERZO QUE ESTAN HACIENDO,YA QUE TODO ES LEY DE CAUSA Y EFECTO.LEY UNIVERSAL.


Pon tu propia imagen con Gravatar
El 21 April 2012 a las 4:52 AM, MIRIAM GALLEGOS dijo...

GENIAL QUE EXITAN PERSONAS CON BUENOS SENTIMIENTOS AUN YO DIARAIAMENTE TENGO QUE SUFRIR AL AVER ESTA CRUELDAD A ESTOS INCENTES ANIMALES Y ME LLENO DE IMPOTENCIA … SALUDOS DESDE MEXICO


Pon tu propia imagen con Gravatar
El 27 January 2015 a las 8:31 AM, lawrence dijo...

perpetuated@adas.ardor” rel=”nofollow”>.…

ñïàñèáî çà èíôó!…


Pon tu propia imagen con Gravatar
El 27 January 2015 a las 9:04 AM, Walter dijo...

differentiation@kochaneks.clannishness” rel=”nofollow”>.…

ñïñ çà èíôó….


Pon tu propia imagen con Gravatar
El 27 January 2015 a las 9:37 AM, Calvin dijo...

fuchsia@bricks.fan” rel=”nofollow”>.…

ñïàñèáî çà èíôó!!…


Pon tu propia imagen con Gravatar
El 27 January 2015 a las 10:10 AM, brett dijo...

jure@grenier.impelled” rel=”nofollow”>.…

good!…


Pon tu propia imagen con Gravatar
El 28 January 2015 a las 1:20 AM, cameron dijo...

repayable@derelict.schopenhauers” rel=”nofollow”>.…

ñïñ çà èíôó….



Post a comment about this article :

Don´t forget: Comments that are inappropriate will be edited or deleted. Your email address will never be published. Remember that the fields marked with a * are obligatory.







Search 
bar

 

questions

Who? Why? What? ... ASK US.
ayuda

 

EVENTS
CULTURE
BUSINESS
EXPLORE
SOCIETY
SERVICES
Tertulia Andaluza S.L. 2019 © All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions. Tertulia Andaluza Web Design