Brexit, a pandemic, multiple lockdowns, and bad weather couldn’t keep ten donkeys away from the UK, as they arrived from France after being rescued from the meat trade.
The Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary saved Jiva, Javette, Jenny, Jumpy, Josephine, Hope and Charity in November. Dubbed the ‘French 10’ by the charity, the animals were headed for the slaughterhouse to be sold in Italy.
The charity had initially hoped to bring them to Britain by Christmas, but were hit by a stream of delays caused by the coronavirus crisis and the UK’s departure from the EU.
They were first contacted in early November by an animal rescue centre in France and agreed to pay the release fee to rescue them from the slaughterhouse with only “hours to spare”, said the group.
Initially, eight donkeys were to be rescued, but the charity agreed to take on two more donkeys bound for the slaughterhouse in Normandy.
In a Facebook post, the sanctuary said: “We had a nice steady plan in place… Oh how things can change! We were hit by: Covid-19, two sets of lockdowns in England and France, closure of French borders, lorry backlogs across the Channel, new Brexit regulations, additional Brexit blood tests and quarantine required – and then heavy snow in Brittany!”
They were allowed to travel after “weeks of delays, worries, frustration and even a few tears” and began their journey on 19 February.
The ten donkeys finally arrived in the Isle of Wight on Saturday, having travelled from Brittany to Normandy, before departing for British shores.
Upon arrival, the animals were “chilled, unfazed and trotted off to Poppy’s Place as if they had lived here all their life”, said the charity.