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Free online learning platform aims to improve donkey welfare worldwide

Donkeys across the world could experience better welfare, thanks to an innovative free online learning platform launched by international animal welfare charity, The Donkey Sanctuary.

Developed and run by donkey experts, the Donkey Academy has the potential to reach tens of thousands of people across the globe, providing comprehensive, up-to-date knowledge on donkey welfare.

Courses range from foundation to more advanced levels, providing a huge range of educational courses for donkey and mule owners, universities, veterinary colleges, carers and professionals alike.

Subjects for the courses cover a wide range of areas, from donkey behaviour and respiratory disease to donkey dentistry and hoof care.

The ground-breaking initiative has been championed by Peter Wright, star of Channel 5’s TV show The Yorkshire Vet and ambassador for The Donkey Sanctuary.

Peter said: “It makes me incredibly proud that The Donkey Sanctuary is widening its reach and impact by using technology to be there for even more donkeys and mules.

“The Donkey Academy is the next step in the charity’s journey to reach even more donkeys and mules, by sharing the latest knowledge from the world’s leading donkey experts.”

UNSAAC University in Cusco, Peru is one of the institutions already benefiting from the Donkey Academy.

Collaboration between The Donkey Sanctuary and one of its partners, Equitarian Initiative, developed the first-ever online curriculum for universities focused on welfare and preventive medicine for working equids.

Joao Rodrigues, Lead for Welfare Assessment at The Donkey Sanctuary, adds: “Having the opportunity to provide training, knowledge and skills to these students, who live in a region heavily affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, was an incredible experience.


“The students were training to be general veterinarians, but their curriculum contained almost no courses on equid medicine, despite the large number of working equids in the region.


“We hope that with this online course, these vets will now have the tools to help these animals and support the communities that rely on them.”


Fiona Cooke, Head of Research at The Donkey Sanctuary, said: “All of our courses are built and developed by our experts in donkey care and welfare.


“They are developed based on the most up-to-date scientific knowledge and the expertise of people who have been working with donkeys and mules in many different contexts for many years.


“We understand the different needs of our audiences, so we are making sure that everyone can access the information that is relevant to them and the donkeys that they care for, work with or wish to know more about.”


The Donkey Sanctuary is a global leader for equid welfare, research and veterinary care. The charity operates programmes worldwide for animals working in agriculture, industry and transportation.


All the courses are available to view via the Donkey Academy website:

  • The Donkey Sanctuary is the world’s largest equine welfare charity. Our vision is a world where donkeys and mules live free from suffering and their contribution to humanity is fully valued. We run 10 sanctuaries around the UK and Europe, giving lifelong care to more than 7,000 donkeys and mules. Our hospital treats sick donkeys and trains vets both nationwide and worldwide. Our donkey-facilitated learning programme helps vulnerable children and adults develop life skills by connecting with donkeys on an emotional and physical level. The charity operates programmes worldwide for animals working in agriculture, industry and transportation, and those used in the production of meat and skin.


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