An animal sanctuary based in Sidmouth is celebrating becoming the first equine charity to join the United Nations to improve the lives of working donkeys in mountain areas.
The Donkey Sanctuary has been accepted into the United Nations’ (UN) Mountain Partnership, where the charity will find new ways of promoting the health and welfare of working equids.
The move means the charity, based in East Devon, will now work with international governments, organisations and private sectors with the aim of improving the lives of mountain people and protecting their global environments.
The charity said membership of the Mountain Partnership, which is part of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), will be relevant to The Donkey Sanctuary’s international work to improve the welfare of working equines in mountain areas worldwide – such as in Nepal where donkeys and mules work alongside communities in the brick kilns who rely solely on the industry for their income.
Or the charity’s work with communities manufacturing traditional spirit, Mezcal – similar to tequila – where donkeys and mules collect the required cacti and firewood from the steep hills and forests of southern Mexico.
João Rodrigues, senior lead in welfare assessment at The Donkey Sanctuary, said: “Having the opportunity to join the Mountain Partnership is absolutely fantastic, as it allows us to create new ways to promote the health and welfare of working equids.
“From our international headquarters here in Sidmouth we’re helping to make a difference to communities around the world who rely on donkeys for their livelihoods.”
The Mountain Partnership said it was ‘very pleased’ to welcome The Donkey Sanctuary as a member.
A spokesperson said: “We look forward to working together with the common goal of achieving sustainable mountain development around the world.
“We are confident that The Donkey Sanctuary will not only benefit from what the partnership has to offer, but will also contribute significantly to realising our agreed upon objectives and vision.”
The animal charity operates programmes worldwide for animals working in agriculture, industry and transportation.