Friday, July 20, 2012

America's Huge Ass Problem

Nope, for once this isn't about America's obesity crisis.

Quick, which American equine is the least desireable?

If you answered donkey/ass/burro, you just won the grand prize: 2,000 free donkeys. Can't take 'em? Neither can anyone else.

In the past three years, droughts, wildfires and flooding have devastated many middle/western states. Texas in particularly was hard-hit. Now, Indiana and Illinois farmers are shredding what little corn they have left just to feed their cattle. Hay is non-existant in many places. Colorado, of course, is on fire, Louisiana is in a drought crisis, eastern Iowa looks like a desert... basically, over half of the country looks like burned dog shit. It's officially the largest drought since 1956.
America: More brown than the infamous "tanning mom"

The animals suffer, of course-- but some suffer more than others. The underfed cattle at least got sold, once ranchers ran out of feed-- a quick death. Many horses were, and still are, being sold, given away, abandoned or even starved, but there's something about horses that make them slightly more recession-proof. They're more romantic, rideable, pretty, valuable and more recognizeable (so you can't dump them anonymously as easily). Everyone who ever read "Black Beauty" is at least inclined to call the police about any starving horses they see. Plus, there's always the French meat market as a last resort.

For donkeys, however, there are absolutely no options. Nobody, not even a Frenchman, wants to eat a donkey. Auction houses in Texas are now absolutely refusing to even accept donkeys in the ring, because no one bids on them. The few people that are in a position to adopt right now usually want a rideable equine, or at least one without a reputation for stubborness. So what happens? The donkeys get dumped. Literally, on the side of the road, dumped.

The Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue, based in Texas, took in 686 donkeys last year and are already set to break that record, having taken in 474 donkeys already this year. Many of them were actually rescued from the side of the road. See their press release. One animal control officer in Athens, Louisiana has personally taken on hundreds from his parish alone. This Iowa woman rescued a group of donkeys at an auction for $20 each-- their compatriots dumped along Iowa roadsides are less fortunate. Even Hawaii has had a donkey problem!

It's such a crisis in America that western sherrif departments now say it's common for people to actually sneak onto other ranchers' lands in order to dump donkeys. I can't imagine being so desperate as to try to sneak a pack of donkeys anywhere, but that's how bad things are. And we're just talking about relatively tame, domesticated donkeys here-- can you imagine how badly the wild burros are suffering?

So what can you do to help?
Finally, you can educate yourself, and others, about donkeys. Many myths and bad stereotypes prevent donkeys from finding good homes. They are not stubborn, mean or nasty-- they're intelligent, adaptable, wary and independent. The PVDR has a great FAQ here. I had no idea donkeys carried their foals for a full year! Or that the word "donkey" comes from the old English words for "dun" (the grey color) and "ky" (meaning little). Neat stuff. PVDR also has this cute fan-made video. Enjoy:


  1. Right? My riding instructor rescued a donkey from a junk yard, or at least that's what his owner was keepin' him in! Burro has brought us all some smiles. He keeps Cimmy (PMU rescue mare) and the minis company. When I'm riding, I'll hear him bray from his pen, and I never fail to see my instructor smile. So, people of America. If she did it, why can't you? He's the sweetest thang.

  2. I rescued one many years ago in California while I was in the navy, he eventually went to a great farm where he was part of a petting zoo in the fall around the time pumpkin patches spring up.
    If I had the resources I would take on another one, I really do love them!!!

    I am posting this, because this dude needs to have his stupidity shared!!!

    Sweet yearling started under saddle - $250 (brodhead)
    Date: 2012-07-22, 5:58PM CDT
    Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]
    Selling my yearling holly. we were going to break her but found a horse that was already broke. good home is a must!! we have worked with her quite a bit and she saddles great and we have put our 4 yr old on her and taken him for a few rides and holly did great. may be willing to trade for an older trail horse around 15-17 yrs old my husband and I like to ride around the farm.

    This @$$ hat has his 4 yr old up on a yearling filly, and he has NO helmet on, NOR is he holding a lead rope, the horse is FREE to run and buck.. and kill his child.

    And I think it is worse, you can see in the second and third pics, a belt or strap hanging from the back of the filly's saddle.. I think its one from a pony ring where they "strap" the kid in.
    So.. do they have little crash test kid strapped in??
    makes you wonder which would be worse.. dying cuz dadsie and mummsie decided to put you on a baby horse which in itself is awful, but its compounded by no helmet and the stupid gits can't even be bothered to hold her lead rope...
    OR they strap you on to the baby horse and do all the above.. where the likely hood of the saddle slipping, and you still strapped on to poor little baby horse who is now completely freaked out, so she is bucking and knocking you around so badly you will either likely DIE or be drooling and saying things like "Bad da de bah!!"* to everything some one asks of you or talks to you.
    *I was a skills trainer for a mentally challenged man who said that ALL the time...
    (the sad parts are that he had a twin who was perfectly fine, AND they named the mentally challenged one Rex)

  3. Huh, $20 is actually pretty high for a donkey at the auctions I go to. On average they sell for $2.50-$5.00 each. Yep. Why does no one geld the damn things?! As soon as cattle breeding season is done everyone dumps the poor things since they don't need them to guard herds anymore. I was tempted to bring home an adorable black mini donkey with white points. He went for $35-45 I think.