Six donkeys have been rescued from Ballinasloe Fair in Ireland by The Donkey Sanctuary after they were abandoned by their owners.
The five males and one mare were found running loose at the famous fair in County Galway on Monday. They now have a sanctuary for life with The Donkey Sanctuary.
Welfare Adviser Ian Colton said the five males and one mare were frightened and in desperate need of help.
He said: “It’s sad to see them abandoned like this. If it wasn’t for us they’d still be there without food, water or shelter and at risk of injury or even death.
“I’m just happy we were there to help. Otherwise who knows what would have happened or whether they’d even have survived the winter.”
Each year The Donkey Sanctuary monitors the welfare of thousands of equines at Ballinasloe October Fair, the biggest equine fair in Europe, giving treatment and advice.
Last year 249 donkeys were rescued or rehomed by The Donkey Sanctuary Ireland.
These six donkeys were abandoned after their owner failed to sell them, it is believed.
Ian adds: “In a way these donkeys were lucky to be abandoned in a public place. Others are abandoned in remote locations all over Ireland where they might not be found or might get into trouble. But we work hard to find and help donkeys in distress wherever they might be.”
Ballinasloe Fair is just one of the equine fairs or festivals monitored by The Donkey Sanctuary. Earlier this year the charity’s experts provided treatment or rescue for scores of animals at Appleby Fair in Cumbria and at the El Rocio pilgrimage in southern Spain.
The charity continues to lobby authorities to ensure better conditions for donkeys and equines at festivals, fairs and tourist attractions all across Europe and has recently improved welfare conditions in Spain. Its petition against cruelty to donkeys in Santorini can be found here.