As I've immersed myself in the mule world over the last few years, it's made me want to also step into the world of donkeys (via research and reading - unfortunately, I am not able have a donkey at this point in time). I did not realize that donkeys suffer so terribly from abuse, neglect, and downright horrific cruelty. It seems to be an actual plight. I'm shocked and disgusted. I know that horses and mules deal with inexcusable abuses, as well (equally shocking and disgusting), but it seems that donkeys have it a bit worse.
Online, I discovered some remarkable people (Mark and Amy Meyers and their staff) who have made the rescue of donkeys their life's work. Please, please visit donkeyrescue.com. Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue is the largest organization of its kind.I admire them greatly. I just purchased Mark's book from the website, and am very anxious to read it. They need donations, and purchasing anything from their gift shop also helps.
I call upon all horse owners to check into the other equines of this world. Learn about them, get to know one or two of them - live and in person. Go to a mule and/or donkey show or sanctuary or farm, if there is one near you. Talk with a neighbor who has donkeys or mules or zorses. Look them up online. Read a book about them. And by all means, please do not believe in the stereotypes. Mules and donkeys are not "stubborn", nor are they are not habitual kickers. They are highly intelligent, very friendly, and capable of anything a horse can do.
The equine world is very horse-centric - horse magazines very rarely feature articles about mules and donkeys (and zebra- cross equines), equestrian catalogs, as a general rule, do not feature equipment specific to them (except those horrible, horrible bicycle chain bits! Never buy one of those, please!), but there is an entire world of equines out there who need and deserve our respect, admiration, love, care, and friendship!
In my own experience, bonding with a mule has been one of the greatest joys, and extraordinary experiences, of my life. I look forward to having a donkey friend one of these days, too.
Now, more than ever, we all need to expand our minds and open our hearts.
Thank you. Happy autumn!
Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue
Here are a couple of links of interest:
Western Mule Magazine http://www.westernmulemagazine.com/
American Donkey and Mule Society http://www.lovelongears.com/