Donkey ride operators in Porthcawl questioned over animal welfare during heatwave

Bridgend Council has confirmed that Animal Welfare officers have been inspecting Coney Beach in Porthcawl following concerns made over the welfare of donkeys.

It comes a year after donkey rides were temporarily suspended following similar concerns about the animals made to the RSPCA.

A spokesman for the council confirmed that donkey ride operators were spoken to last week.

He said: “Initially, the donkeys were not being afforded enough protection, in terms of shade, so officers questioned the operator on this and requested that all animals be kept under the shade when they are not operating.

“Further unannounced visits have since been undertaken, and the animals have been found to be kept under the shade on each visit.

(Image: Rob Browne)

“They were also in good condition and weren’t in any distress.

“The operator is providing water to the animals via a mains supply which is piped to a large blue storage drum.

“Unfortunately, the drum used looks the same as the litter bins on the beach, so many people have mistakenly assumed that the drum is a litter bin when it is in fact a water container.

“An officer undertook a further visit on Friday afternoon and spoke at length with the operator regarding the complaints being received.”

The council confirmed the operator agreed to provide more water containers for the donkeys, which will be a temporary measure as they look to install a dedicated water trough.

It was also agreed that additional netting will be erected to provide further areas of shelter and shade for the animals.

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The council will now continue to monitor the situation during the coming week and will take any further action if required.

The RSPCA also confirmed it has recently been notified about people’s concerns for the donkeys at Coney Beach.

A spokeswoman for the RSPCA said: “RSPCA Cymru would like to thank members of the public who have shared their concerns.

“We have notified the council, who have been dealing with this matter, of the concerns that have been raised to us.

“Anyone with animal welfare concerns can raise these with our 24-hour advice cruelty line on 0300 1234 999, or report them to the council.”

In June 2017 similar concerns were raised over the welfare of the animals working in Porthcawl and the rides were temporarily suspended as a result.

Coney Beach in Porthcawl and the funfair are owned and run by the Evans family, but the donkey rides are run separately as a concession.

Eastern Promenade
(Image: Rob Browne)

When asked about the issue, Managing Director at Coney Beach, Patrick Evans, said: “The donkeys are owned and operated by a concessionaire of our business and not directly or indirectly under the control of Coney Beach.

“However the donkeys have been a feature of Coney Beach for generations – at least 50 years – and would not be permitted to operate on our beach unless we were entirely certain that their welfare was being fully catered for.

“Despite some uninformed comment on social media the donkeys have access to water at all times.

“Coney Beach is in fact one of the very few operators in the UK who have fresh water plumbed to the beach exclusively for the donkeys and a large water receptacle is clearly visible.

“However in light of the current high temperatures more water buckets have been placed along the beach stable area.

“Additional shade has been erected although those people who know about donkeys will be aware that they actually prefer not to be in shade.

“The welfare of everyone, be it human or animal, connected with out park is paramount.”

Article source: https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/donkey-ride-operators-porthcawl-questioned-14855223