The Burden of Burros and the Plight of Donkeys

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Today I want to talk to you about an animal who has, over the centuries, gone from exalted to vilified.

  • …an animal many people have never met but one who has been much maligned and humiliated on film, in literature, and in our language.
  • …an animal who is affected by the daily choices we make but who is invisible in many ways.
  • …an animal you may never think of, an animal you wouldn’t think would be part of the animal agriculture business.
  • …an animal I hope you have the privilege of meeting someday.

Today I want to tell you about the burden of burros and the plight of donkeys and explain why they represent all animals at the mercy of humans.

In this episode, I also share two films about donkeys, Au Hasard Balthazar by Robert Bresson — one of my favorite films of all time — and EO by Jerzy Skolimowski, a film inspired by Balthazar and packed with as much power as its predecessor.

A version of this episode originally aired in 2007 but was in much need of an update. This is not just a rebroadcast; it is a re-worked and re-recorded episode about these magnificent and misunderstood animals.

Pictured above and below are Bonnie (little brown donkey), Waylon (beautiful grey donkey), and Sierra (gorgeous brown donkey) in the last more-than-two decades since 2000.

Next to cats and goats, donkeys are the animal I want to spend the most time with, and I’m lucky enough to have done so at many sanctuaries, including the Donkey Sanctuary in Ireland but especially Farm Sanctuary when they were in Northern California.


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Hello, and welcome. I’m Colleen, aka The Joyful Vegan, and I’m here to give you the tools and resources you need to eat, cook, travel, and live compassionately and healthfully. 

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