Why donkeys kick ass

HEIKE Mack-Behle is a woman with a mission - to change the way people think of the humble donkey.

Ms Mack-Behle runs the Destiny Boonah Eco Cottages and Donkey Farm, where she cares for 25 donkeys and had helped re-home hundreds of others.

 

Heike Mack-Behle from Destiny Boonah Donkey Farm with Sammy, a long haired donkey. Heike is committed to donkey rescue and welfare.
Heike Mack-Behle from Destiny Boonah Donkey Farm with Sammy, a long haired donkey. Heike is committed to donkey rescue and welfare. Claudia Baxter

"I started this in 2003, in part to rescue donkeys and bring them back to health and re-home and relocate them," she said.

 

By her own estimation, in the past nine years she has moved more than 500 donkeys, but that wasn't enough.

"I realised I had to go back to grass roots to help the donkey, to lift its profile and to life its image," she said. "People do not pay respect to the animal."

The domestic donkey was once a farm and pack animal, ridden by Jesus on Palm Sunday, and used by Private John Simpson to save Australian soldiers at Gallipoli.

But somewhere along the way Ms Mack-Behle said a lot of people lost respect for the animal.

"People have totally forgotten about these animals - how hard they worked on farms, how hard they worked to develop Australia," she said.

To remind people of what the donkey has done she has started running education seminars and hosting farm stays where people can stay with her herd.

And her hard work is beginning to pay off.

Up to 100 people every week from schools and seniors groups visit her to listen to her tell the stories of donkeys are the ASSquestrian Centre.

Ms Mack-Behle believes she may be turning the corner due to the length of her waiting list of people hoping to be the new keepers of a donkey.

"There is a big demand for them on wool farms, on dairy farms and on horse studs for foals to protect them against foxes, dingoes and wild dogs.

"I'm not saying this is the solution to wild dogs, but it definitely will help."



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