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The Multi-dimensional Donkey in Landscapes of Donkey-Human Interaction

Stephen Blakeway


The purpose of this article is to spark interest and raise awareness about donkeys and their lives; and ultimately to help develop a worldwide network for donkey (animal) welfare and shape a more humane world. It aims to encourage greater collaboration between academics involved with animal studies, animal geographies and similar related disciplines, and those involved practically with the welfare of donkeys and mules around the world. It outlines the idea of a multi-dimensional landscape of donkey-human interaction to help us understand the complexity of factors shaping the place of donkeys in the world, and to provide a framework for practical engagement with donkeys and their users around the world. Through its case studies, it describes some lives lived by donkeys. And finally, written from the perspective of a British donkey welfare charity, The Donkey Sanctuary, it outlines an approach to assessing working donkey welfare building from a simple five-point welfare assessment tool; and it illustrates something of that work to bring about long-term improvements in donkey welfare.


Donkey; mule; interspecific relationships; intraspecific relationships; human-animal interactions; working animals; working equids; animal geographies; animal welfare; animal charities

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7358/rela-2014-001-blak


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Relations. Beyond Anthropocentrism
Registered by Tribunale di Milano (04/05/2012 n. 211)
Online ISSN 2280-9643 - Print ISSN 2283-3196

Executive Editor: Matteo Andreozzi
Managing Editor: Adele Tiengo
Associate Editors: Rod Bennison - Alma Massaro - Kim Stallwood - Jessica Ulrich
Consulting Editor: Leonardo Caffo
Review Editors: Sofia Bonicalzi - Eleonora Adorni
Editorial Board: Ralph R. Acampora - Carol J. Adams - Matthew R. Calarco - Gabriele Cambiotti - Piergiorgio Donatelli - Arianna Ferrari - William Grove-Fanning - Serenella Iovino - Joel MacClellan - Dario Martinelli - Roberto Marchesini - Barbara Muraca - Serpil Oppermann - Piergiacomo Pagano - Paola Sobbrio - Sabrina Tonutti