NPR

Amid Growing Threats, Donkey Rescuers Protect The Misunderstood Beasts Of Burden

Donkeys, unfairly, get a bum rap. And global demand for their hides is growing. But a foremost donkey defender, who adopts abused and unwanted donkeys, says the smart, playful animals make great pets.
Mark Meyers is the founder of Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue in San Angelo, Texas. His sanctuaries protect some 3,000 animals, making it the largest donkey defense organization in the world. Source: John Burnett

Donkeys have been loyal beasts of burden for 5,000 years, yet they still don't get a lot of respect.

In the wild, burro herds are a nuisance. In captivity, they can be mistreated. But in recent years, donkey sanctuaries have sprung up across the country. The largest among them is Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue, outside of San Angelo, Texas, where the air periodically erupts with the unpeaceable sounds of donkey braying.

Just like its hee-haw, so much about the donkey is species specific. Their temperament — intelligent, cautious and playful — is unique in

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR3 min read
He Was Wrongly Convicted When They Were Teens. Now They're Building Their Lives Together
De'Marchoe Carpenter spent 22 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit, which pulled him away from a new romance. Although he was exonerated, he struggles with anxiety from his time in prison.
NPR4 min readFood & Wine
How Luxury Hotels And Restaurants In Developing Countries Fight Food Waste
The United Nations says nearly one-fourth of food purchases in hotels and restaurants are thrown away. Luxury properties in Mexico, India, and elsewhere are trying programs to bring that figure down.
NPR2 min read
Brazilian 'Celebrity' Plastic Surgeon Arrested After Patient's Death
Denis Cesar Barros Furtado, known as "Dr. Bumbum" had been on the run for five days when police arrested him in Rio. A patient of his suddenly fell ill and died following a procedure on her buttocks.