Monday, June 18, 2012

A Donkey Saves the Day

A donkey named Ellie apparently led her herd of four draft horses and another donkey to a lush green meadow in an effort to stay safe from the High Park fire in Colorado. When help arrived, the donkey, with singed whiskers, walked up to the rescuer and put her head into the man's chest. 

Are you saying, "Awwwww...." with me?   
(Click here for the article.)

Ellie gets treated by Colorado State
veterinary students

This is just one example of why so many people who know and love donkeys are trying to stop the practice of donkey roping. Donkeys are highly intelligent, sensitive animals. Being shocked with electric prods, chased by cowboys on horses, roped head and heels and brought down, is cruel. The body structure of a donkey is different from that of a cow,  so donkeys can more easily suffer physical harm, as well as the emotional trauma.

A number of bloggers...
and friends of bloggers... 
and friends of friends...
and friends of donkeys...
are making a plea to end this practice.  Most recently, folks have been contacting the promoter* of the Van Horn (Texas) Frontier Days Trailer Roping to have him cancel the donkey roping competition scheduled for this coming Saturday. Other folks have been writing polite, educational emails to the City Council**, which meets this evening. 

I have been following Morning Bray Farm's blog for a few years. Morning Bray Farm adopted rescued Patrick last year. He was used for roping. You can read Patrick's story here. Patrick recently sent a message to the folks organizing the roping event.  

What are your feelings about this type of event? It's something I had never heard of before I 'met' Patrick. It's probably something I would have considered as accepted practice. I mean, they rope calves, don't they? But then I learned more about donkeys. I believe that education is the key. 

We recently went to the open house of the Dumb Friends Animal League Harmony Equine Center. Terry, at Moondance Ranch, put up an excellent post about it here. The equine center takes custody of abused animals that have been removed from their homes as a result of legal proceedings. We learned from a criminal investigator with the SPCA that the majority of abuse cases he sees are a result of ignorance on the part of the owners. In fact, 90% of the equines that come into custody are returned after a period of owner education. That seemed like a lot huge to me!

Considering those statistics, I began to wonder how many rodeo promoters are educated about the effects of donkey roping? What about the cowboys who rope them? How many audience members recognize this as cruelty? My guess is, that like the horse owners mentioned above, the majority just don't really know. The pressure from those who understand donkeys has resulted in the publication of educational pieces. Here is an excellent article that explains why the practice of donkey roping is abhorrent.

And you? I'm hoping that, like me, now you know! If you have it in your heart, let other people become informed, too. Share this information with your friends. Let others know how you feel. 

Today is a red letter day. I have heard that the donkey roping competition scheduled in Van Horn, Texas for this coming Saturday has been cancelled. The donkey lovers have won this battle, but the war wages on. Please continue to talk to your friends and let them know about this practice and the interest among so many in seeing all animals treated humanely. 

*Event promoter: Jason Owens,  432-940-9051 
**Email addresses for Van Horn City Council available on Facebook post:


  1. I seriously had NO IDEA about donkey roping, my co-worker just lost her donkey last year he died of old age but she always had him in their Christmas picture etc... he was a very big part of their family and told me they make wonderful pets/guard animals, the people down the road from us have 4 or 5 and they are so cute I could not believe to have them chased and roped this is horrible I will stop back by and read up on this terrible thing thanks for educating/sharing. I want this terrible act STOPPED the show MUST NOT go on!!!

  2. I had no idea about donkey roping, either! Horrible!

    What a special donkey Ellie is!
    I am convinced Shy needs a donkey friend. . .one day. . .
    Definitely sharing this!

  3. Till I read Patricks rescue at Morning Bray when he came there we had no clue that Donkey Roping even existed. Shame on them who do such things to such intelligent creatures.

  4. Cyndi,

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. You are spot on, my friend.


    Patrick and the rest of the herd at Morning Bray Farm

  5. Cyndi, you've so eloquently put this whole mess in its proper perspective. Education is the key. Thanks for all your support.

  6. Please everyone-tell the VanHorn City Council and the event promoter to stop the donkey roping event.
    I have been following Morning Bray and 7MSN blogs for ages and Patrick's story is very inspiring.

  7. I sure hope all the public pressure stops this roping, but that it also has the effect of making the lawmakers outlaw donkey roping. Shame on the ropers who insist on doing this!

  8. Please continue to share the article.oppose the practice. and write to the van horn council members.Today is their council meeting at 7 pm.please continue up to the deadline

  9. Your blog post is going viral!
    An update from The Love of Donkey Facebook page:
    "The donkey roping competition on June 23 has been cancelled because of public input and the number of complaints received.

    Congratulations, everyone!

    For the love of donkeys, thank you all for being a part of stopping this.
    I have personally spoken to the sheriff's office in Culbertson County, Texas, at 12:50 p.m. Mountain time today. According to the dispatcher I spoke to (Badge #361), Sheriff Carrillo says the donkey roping event on June 23 has been cancelled because of public input and the number of complaints received. We did it!"

  10. I am anti ALL roping period. Much of what goes on at rodeos makes my stomach ache. Tormenting animals for entertainment is sick.

  11. I agree, Lori! I suspect that donkey roping has just gained more attention/press than the roping of other animals. IMHO, rodeos are a throw-back to a cruel and unpleasant time in our history. Fortuantely, rodeos seem to be a "western" sport rather than one that appeals to the millions of folks in the east. Let's hope your efforts end rodeos everywhere!


  12. I am a donkey owner, plus a haflinger mule, and a Shetland!! I have been to ONE rodeo event and saw a calf die of a broken neck. That was enough for me......

  13. I became aware of donkey roping while working at the donkey rescue next door. It is horrible and cruel and so horrible that people can treat animals like that. Donkeys are pets, they are the most sensitive and caring animals I have ever met. I will post something about this soon as well. I sort of missed all this last week. I will refer to some of the information you have here or link to it. Thank you so much for this.

  14. What a sweet story about Ellie's wonderful leadership qualities. Love those ears! I'm so glad the donkey competition was cancelled.


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