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In Italy donkey milk is used both as food and as a cosmetic ingredient because of its organoleptic properties which makes it particularly versatile.
There are many donkey breeding centres in Italy and unfortunately animal welfare tends to be sacrificed for the sake of profit. Having visited some of the centres, we found animals in terrible conditions, with the main problem being overgrown hooves.
We are now actively investigating animal welfare issues in breeding centres to raise awareness of animal welfare.
We are collecting information on the many kinds of donkey races which take place in Italy.
A few bits of news already:
There are more than 80 events, spread all over the country.
The events have little or no veterinary presence to check the health of the donkeys. In addition, the events are often linked to festivals or feasts in which donkey also features on the menu.
It is rare for the donkeys or jockeys to prepare for the races in any way.
International animal welfare charity The Donkey Sanctuary is today celebrating as a new system of fines brings hope of improved conditions for donkeys and mules working as tourist taxis on the Greek island of Santorini.
We are sure many of you remember our campaign about the poor conditions of 700 donkeys living in a milk farm in Montebaducco. Our online petition was a great success and we asked the owners to improve welfare conditions of their animals.
Last week our General Manager Barbara Massa, our vet and his assistant went back to the milk farm to check the overall conditions of donkeys and to meet the owners.
Many holiday makers and visitors, who are travelling to European countries, contact Il Rifugio degli Asinelli ONLUS regarding donkeys that they have seen which may be in difficulty, injured or appear to be in poor condition. Although Il Rifugio degli Asinelli ONLUS has no legal jurisdiction, we are increasingly more able to investigate and assist the donkey by providing advice and medical help if the owner is open to our offer. Il Rifugio degli Asinelli ONLUS often works in conjunction with other animal welfare organisations, enabling us to provide help in other countries.