Organized horse fighting Organized horse fighting

Through the generosity of our supporters, we finance critical veterinary care, rescue missions and rehabilitation support, and conduct long-term outreach programs to educate communities on the proper care of horses and donkeys. We also work to bring an end to the global donkey skin trade.

Worldwide donkey crisis:

Donkeys are some of the most widely abused equines in the world.

Donkeys are some of the most widely abused equines in the world.

These gentle creatures have played a fundamental role in our society since as far back as 4000 BC – helping us with physically demanding tasks in some of the most challenging terrains. But these spirited and intelligent long-eared equines do not receive the appreciation they deserve. Instead, donkeys are in crisis all around the world – suffering from abuse, neglect and, worst of all, slaughter at the hands of the horrific Chinese donkey skin trade.

Donkey Skin Banner

This insatiable industry wipes out hundreds of thousands of donkeys every year so their skins can be used for a traditional medicine called ejiao (pronounced “uh-jee-ow”), which has no proven benefit whatsoever. In Africa, donkeys are bludgeoned to death and sometimes even skinned alive. At the current level of slaughter, donkeys could be extinct within the next four years.

Since 2018, we have made huge strides towards ending the dreadful donkey skin trade. We have caused slaughterhouses in Tanzania and Kenya to be shut down, persuaded the South African government to revisit its laws on donkey slaughter, and successfully lobbied for the banning of trade in Zimbabwe. We have also worked to replenish depleted donkey populations and improve the conditions for working donkeys in several parts of Africa.

None of this would be possible without the support of our donors. When you donate to Network for Animals, you help us continue our work in ending senseless donkey slaughter, help support sick, injured and abandoned equines, and give hope to overworked, neglected horses and donkeys around the world.

Piles of donkey skins for the Chinese donkey skin trade

Donkey skins in Kenya ready for the Chinese trade.

Kenya 🇰🇪

In Kenya, we exposed a slaughterhouse where 2,000 donkeys were killed for their skins every month, which were then exported to China. Thanks in part to our efforts to raise awareness about the situation, donkey slaughter has now been banned in Kenya. The global purchase of donkeys and donkey skins is a savage operation run by organized Chinese syndicates who show no mercy for animals, or for people who get in their way. They often descend on rural villages and steal donkeys, or force owners to sell at giveaway prices, then slaughter the animals in makeshift abattoirs.

Despite the legal ban on their slaughter, donkeys continue to be killed in their droves for the insatiable Chinese donkey skin trade. Together with our partner, the Kenya Society for the Protection of Animals (KSPCA), we are working to help protect these gentle creatures. In 2023, we donated three off-road motorbikes to the Anti-Stock Theft Unit, aiming to reduce illicit activities.

In early 2024, we secured funds to deploy a specialized team to the high-risk areas of Kajiado, Machakos, Kiambu and Nairobi for an initial visit. Our team provided crucial treatment for rescued donkeys in the area and will conduct strategic surveillance initiatives across donkey slaughter hotspots. Our plan is to continue fundraising so that our team can sustain this vital work for at least the next year.

Santorini Donkeys Greece1

Greece 🇬🇷

On the Greek island of Santorini, we expose horrific cruelty inflicted on donkeys every day in the peak of the summer. Donkeys and mules are forced to carry tourists up and down a 1,300-foot (400-meter) high cliff all day in the baking sun without shade, food or water.

Donkey owners say if they provided food, the donkeys would defecate and soil the path, upsetting tourists.

Some donkeys have open wounds, while others have crude wire muzzles over their mouths to prevent them from eating. The donkeys’ working hours are supposed to be regulated, but the authorities have done nothing because of the money donkey-owners (called “muleteers”) rake in from visitors.

In 2018, the municipal authorities promised to improve working conditions for the donkeys by providing drinking troughs at points on the cliff path. This did not happen. When our team visited the island again in July 2019, they were attacked and whipped by the donkey owners. The police did nothing, saying they were on lunch.

We are now forming coalitions with other organizations to increase our pressure and will continue to press for a long-term solution to the problem of donkey exploitation on Santorini.


Dash (pictured above) was rescued by Network for Animals partner, the Starting Over Sanctuary, after being horrifically abused and injured by a group of children.

Israel 🇮🇱

Network for Animals supports the Starting Over Sanctuary (SOS), a well-run rescue and rehabilitation facility and a haven for over 800 animals rescued from severe abuse and neglect across Israel. Among the animals in their care are donkeys, horses, sheep, goats and cats. Thanks to our supporters, we provide SOS with a consistent monthly grant and provide additional donations to help cover their substantial expenses for food and medical care. The funds go directly towards the sanctuary’s work rescuing and rehabilitating hundreds of donkeys, horses and other animals who find themselves in challenging and abusive situations.

In 2022, NFA supported the relocation of 200 donkeys rescued from abuse and neglect to La Tanière, a well-vetted sanctuary in France just outside of Paris. This remarkable 4,595-kilometer (2,855- mile) (4,595-kilometer) journey was only made possible thanks to the generosity of our supporters. We plan to support another relocation of 174 donkeys in the near future. 

Since the start of the Israel-Hamas war in October 2023, SOS has extended its care to 200 equines and 186 cats rescued from Gaza. Despite the escalating challenges of evacuating animals from conflict zones, our team persists in ensuring the animals’ safety by providing food, shelter and veterinary care.

WorldwideDonkeyCrisis_Tanzania2 (1)

In Tanzania, donkeys were killed in large numbers to supply the Chinese donkey skin trade. Network for Animals played a vital role in bringing to an end the slaughter which the government has now banned.

Tanzania 🇹🇿

An extensive undercover investigation by Network for Animals in June 2021 revealed the enormous scale and utter cruelty of the Chinese donkey skin trade in Africa. The Chinese use donkey skins to make a medicine called ejiao (pronounced “uh-jee-ow”), which has never been proven to work, and which kills millions of donkeys every year.

In Tanzania, we sent a team to investigate and chronicle illegal slaughtering practices at a Chinese-run donkey slaughterhouse in the north of the Shinyanga region. What we found directly opposed the regulations in place for animal welfare and humane slaughter. Tens of thousands of donkeys were being killed each month, and rather than giving them the compassion of a gentle, pain-free death, slaughterers were cruelly bludgeoning them with hammers.

Together with our partner, the Arusha Society for the Protection of Animals (ASPA), Network for Animals successfully lobbied the Tanzanian government to shut down the abattoir. This was a colossal victory for donkey welfare. In pursuit of more long-term solutions, we are also financing an educational outreach program to inform donkey owners of the proper care for their animals.


In 2022, ASPA alerted us to a dreadful situation at a market in a rural region called Mirongoine. Every week, more than 1,000 donkeys are forced to walk 10 miles (16 kilometers) in the blistering heat while massively overladen, severely injured, hungry and without access to fresh drinking water. To give these donkeys some much-needed relief, we were able to construct a shaded area with built-in water troughs that can accommodate up to 200 donkeys. We laid pipes connected to the nearby municipal water supply and are pumping in an ample amount of water for thirsty donkeys. Our partner also regularly visits the market to treat the donkeys and monitor their welfare.

With the help of our partner, the Brady Hunter Foundation, NFA constructed an additional three shaded areas with built-in water troughs in November 2023 to accommodate the remaining 600 donkeys who visit the market each week. In the remote town of Geita in northwestern Tanzania, donkeys are used to haul backbreaking weights in an archaic method of gold mining, causing terrible suffering to these gentle creatures. With our support, ASPA began conducting monthly visits to the area to provide the donkeys with deworming medication, medical care and proper saddlebags so they cannot be overloaded.

credit_NFA (1)

Zimbabwe 🇿🇼

In Zimbabwe, we work with an equine sanctuary in Bulawayo that combats cruelty, rescues donkeys, and fights to end the donkey skin trade. Zimbabwe is a bankrupt state with very few medicines available for animals and no money to buy them with.

Matabeleland Animal Rescue and Equine Sanctuary (MARES) rescues terribly abused donkeys throughout Bulawayo and beyond. In rural, poverty-stricken Zimbabwe, people use donkeys as a means of earning a pitiful wage by carting junk and rubble. As a result, the animals incur terrible injuries which are never treated, and when they collapse from disease or pain – having been severely overworked their entire lives – they are usually left to die on the spot. Some of the worst cases of abuse we have dealt with have been in Zimbabwe – for example, Melody who was molested by humans, and Althea who was axed almost to death – both rescued by MARES. With our supporters’ help, we pay for food, veterinary care, rehabilitation and shelter for the rescued donkeys in MARES’ care. Currently, MARES has around 96 permanent donkey residents at its sanctuary.

Image5_credit_NFA_Haldon Krog

We also consistently provide emergency relief for MARES’ donkeys. In December 2023 and January 2024, we rushed 500 bales of hay and 26 bags of feed to donkeys facing starvation during a brutal drought. We also helped fund an emergency relocation for 50 donkeys who were facing starvation, and who now live in an area with lush grazing fields.

With the drought stretching on with little relief in sight, we knew we had to develop a long-term solution. We have secured a 2,100-acre (863-hectare) farm with a 99-year lease near Hwange National Park, where we are busy planting 4,500 drought-resistant moringa trees, which will feed 500 donkeys every year for the foreseeable future.


Helping horses in need:

Horses and ponies have played an integral role in our society for centuries, aiding us in physically demanding tasks across diverse landscapes. Despite their spirited nature and intelligence, these four-legged companions often lack the recognition they deserve. Unfortunately, horses and ponies worldwide are enduring abuse, neglect, and the grim fate of being slaughtered for their body parts.

One pressing issue is the ruthless exploitation of equines for illegal bush racing. In particular, the underground horse racing industry poses a significant threat. This illicit practice subjects horses and ponies to extreme conditions, often resulting in injuries, neglect, and, in some cases, fatalities.

We’ve made substantial progress in combating illegal horse racing. Our efforts have focused on exposing and dismantling these operations, advocating for stronger regulations, and providing support for the rehabilitation of horses and ponies affected by this cruel practice. Additionally, we’ve been dedicated to replenishing dwindling horse and pony populations and enhancing the living conditions of working equines in different parts of the world.

Image5_credit_NFA_Dejan Radic

Croatia 🇭🇷

In Croatia, beneath the cruel guise of “tradition,” horses are chained, terrorized and mercilessly beaten for barbaric log-pulling competitions known as straparijada, for no better reason than human amusement and gambling profits. Our partner, Animal Friends Croatia, is committed to enforcing a complete ban on these horse competitions within a year – but they can’t do it alone.

Thanks to our generous donors, we are supporting critical ongoing efforts to end this cruel sport, lobbying the government to amend animal welfare laws while embarking on a massive media campaign to expose this shocking abuse.

Image4_credit_HUGS 2

United Kingdom 🇬🇧

In the United Kingdom, we support the HUGS Foundation, an equine rescue charity in a rural area in Bodmin. HUGS is a haven for abused, abandoned and neglected horses and ponies. HUGS always tries to find homes for rescued creatures, but more often than not, they remain at the sanctuary for the rest of their lives due to their histories of mistreatment and need for long-term specialist care. HUGS tries to never turn away innocent creatures in need.

An excellent example of HUGS’ work is the case of a group of animals – six miniature Shetland ponies, a moorland pony and a donkey – who were at risk of being slaughtered when their owner became too old to care for them. With our support, the HUGS team was able to save all eight of them, including Igo, a tiny white pony who suffers from dwarfism. Igor is now part of HUGS’ wellbeing program, providing support to children, veterans and the elderly.

In another distressingly similar example, three rescued donkeys were destined to starve to death or worse – be slaughtered for their meat to feed to zoo animals – after their owner suddenly fell ill. We were able to help fund their specialized nutrition, medical treatment and stabling, saving them from the slaughterhouse.

Sign up to our newsletter