10th of July 2012
Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire fights government plan to send donkeys to Haiti
Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire is extremely concerned about the government’s plan to catch the wild donkeys on Bonaire and send them to Haiti to become working donkeys.
The government of Bonaire wants to capture all these donkeys at very short notice, claiming that its aim is to prevent damage to vegetation and improve road safety. Deputy James Kroon told the media that the donkeys will then be transported to Haiti to be used as working animals over there.
Although Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire has been calling upon the government for many years to rescue the stray donkeys from the streets, its chairwoman Marina Melis does not agree with the government’s plans.
“It seems that the donkeys will be captured without proper welfare precautions, which will cause them distress and suffering,” she said.
“Besides, the donkeys will probably face a miserable future on Haiti. There are no guarantees at all that they will be well cared for there. Anyway we are dealing with feral donkeys here, which cannot be simply put to work like trained, domestic animals.”
Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire has already had several consultations with the government to try to find a more animal friendly solution.
Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire offered to coordinate the rounding-up and capture of the wild donkeys. This way the donkeys would be removed from the streets in an animal friendly manner, by people with the right training and equipment. Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire has all the necessary knowledge and experience at its disposal, but a project like this needs thorough preparation and therefore could not be executed until the beginning of 2013 at the earliest.
All the captured mares (including those which are pregnant) and foals can then be accommodated in the donkey sanctuary, where they will be safe and have a good life, on condition that the government contributes to the cost of taking care for these animals. Until now Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire has not received any financial support from the government.
Unfortunately, the captured adult stallions cannot be placed in the Donkey Sanctuary. Even if they are neutered, they will still have aggressive territorial tendencies and will attack other males confined with them, so it is not possible to have them in the sanctuary. Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire proposes to neuter these stallions and then set them free again on the island, or have them euthanized by the vet. Even this last resort would be more humane than sending the donkeys to Haiti.
Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire is a non-profit organisation whose primary objective is to offer safety and protection for all donkeys on Bonaire. Marina also works to raise awareness and overcome negative perceptions of donkeys among the local community, schools and tourists.
At the moment over 400 donkeys are already cared for in the donkey sanctuary. They are provided with food, drinking water and medical care and have plenty of space and freedom. All male donkeys in the sanctuary are neutered to control the number of donkeys in care.
The number of wild donkeys on Bonaire is estimated at approximately 200. These stray donkeys are in constant danger. Every year lots of donkeys die from starvation, dehydration, illness and (road) accidents.
Marina Melis, chairwoman Stichting Donkeyshelp
Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire
PO Box 331
phone + 599 95 607 607