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Donkey Basketball in Anacortes, Washington State Jan 18, 2014


Please politely urge Anacortes Middle School administrators, the Fraternal Order of Eagles, and the Anacortes Eagles Club to ditch this cruel event, and then forward this alert widely!

DRAFT e-mail you can use

  1. Dear Ladies and Gentlemen:The whole point of schools is to teach our children to be better and more-educated citizens than we were. Why, then, you would allow an activity like Donkey Basketball is beyond me.As stewards of this planet, it is incumbent on us to study our environment, to learn about it, to protect it, to preserve it, and to respect it. This is not only true of the physical environment but of the animals that live in and depend on the environment. Our children watch us carefully every day and they repeat our actions. If we abuse our environment, they learn to abuse. If we stand up and protect it, they will emulate our actions and do the same.Fund raising is good. Helping others is good. Denying the suffering of animals because it is convenient is not good.What do you know about donkeys? Did you know that they are introverts? They shy away from bright lights and loud noises. They take time to assess their environment. They like routine and a predictable and familiar environment. They are highly stressed by changes to the environment and the introduction of strange sights and sounds and sensations. This ‘donkey basketball’ that you are proposing is HELL to them. It runs counter to everything about being a donkey.Contrary to popular myth, donkeys can only carry a limited amount of weight. The tack (bridle, blanket, saddle) as well as the person riding them should not ever weight more than 20% of the donkey’s weight. That’s 1/5 of his weight. Quite a lot. For a donkey to carry a 200 lb man plus 25 lbs of tack means that he must weigh at least 1,100 pounds minimum. This does not account for the added weight of a person jumping on in between activities. This amount of weight is the amount of weight they can carry on an appropriate surface. A basketball court is not a safe or appropriate surface for a donkey. Forcing them to try to walk on a gymnasium floor puts them at risk of injury, especially in an event with the crowding and sudden moves that will occur.Donkeys, like most animals, shy away from rough treatment: Hitting, kicking, getting hit by an object (a foot or a ball or an arm), being dragged, having people fall under their feet are all things that add to the stresses identified above. A scared donkey stops in his tracks (much like you or I would do) and, then, finally, lays down. This laying down is an emotional shut down, a complete submission, a last resort for a creature that is overstimulated and so terrified that he can’t even figure out what to do, much like a prisoner of war. People who select donkeys for these events choose the quietest and most ‘broken’ of animals available so that they can assure the safety of the participants. Did you catch that? These are the MOST broken and shut-down creatures they can find. Picking on the weak and vulnerable is what the promoters do.
    And, lastly, do you wonder why these donkeys don’t defecate and urinate all over the floors of these gymnasiums? It’s because they haven’t been fed or watered for many hours prior to these events. The result is sick and weak and dehydrated creatures who are even MORE vulnerable to the ill effects of the noise and lights and physical punishment about to be applied to them.We are supposed to be teaching our teaching our children how to be good citizens – how to show concern for others, how to curtail aggressive behavior, how to be responsible for the consequences of their actions. Activities like this run exactly contrary to those values. I cannot understand how the owners of these donkey events cannot see the suffering they perpetuate. I cannot see how governments can look the other way. I cannot see how PARENTS would encourage their children to pretend that these events are anything but suffering for these quiet and gentle creatures. How can any CITIZEN justify this kind of childish disregard for the negative impacts of human behavior?I urge you to cancel this event immediately. I can understand that you, as adults, have become immune to the unintended suffering caused by your actions. But rest assured that your children have not. They are watching carefully, and they are learning from you. They can see what is being done to the animals, and they are wondering why you would allow this. But they’ll take their cues from you. Do you want a better world with more compassion? Or do you want more of the same brutality and disregard for others that this kind of activity exemplifies? It’s up to you to do the right thing. Be brave. Say no. Make this a teachable moment.Sincerely,

Please call or send polite comments to:

The principle said the event is going on and will not happen next year.

We can stop this if we unite….  Want to see video of what the donkeys are doing, laying down when scared pulling back, bucking.  Select STOP BASKETBALL

My donkey is 16”2 hands tall and has never bucked with me on ever. Please understand donkeys do not like loud noises, they will break down and be disposed of after having to be forced to carry more than 20% of their weight on their backs.  Tears for the donkeys, tears for the students and parents that think it is funny to bully an introvert for fun.


GOD bless you and your family two and four-legged!


5 Responses to “Donkey Basketball in Anacortes, Washington State Jan 18, 2014”

  1. becky6259

    Before following your blog I had not thought about donkey ball games being cruel — in college I had been involved with a donkey basketball game and was fortunate to have gotten a donkey that was sweet, but i didn’t know enough about them to realize that this was torture for them. Junior high school kids are really too young to be handling donkeys as a group anyway. So sad.
    By the way, one of your blog posts entered my mind this past Fall when my husband hit a baby rabbit with the mower. He carefully picked the rabbit up because he thought it might be dead, but apparently it had just been grazed. I remembered what you had said about situations like this (leave them alone — don’t pick them up), so I told my husband we needed to put the rabbit back where it was when the mower hit it. The little guy (or girl) staggered for a bit, then hopped slowly under the fence. I hope we did the right thing…



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