Owners address concerns raised over Weston donkeys during heatwave

Lovely to see the donkeys on the beach, pleasing so many youngsters. Picture: Terry Kelly

Beachgoers have complained that the donkeys have been made to work in the heat. - Credit: Terry Kelly

The owner of Weston Donkeys has assured people the animals have been looked after correctly during the searing heat after temperatures reached more than 30 degrees.

North Somerset Council has also confirmed its Trading Standards services have been in touch with the operators to remind them of their duty to protect the animals after complaints were made.

Nick Mager, of Mager & Sons, which has been based on Weston seafront for six generations, assured people that the conditions are suitable for donkeys.

He said: "We have had visits from welfare officers and the Donkey Sanctuary who have been here and assessed us and said these conditions are suitable for the donkeys.

"We do not make these decisions ourselves, we have welfare officers from the council and there opinion is that the donkeys are fine on the seafront, they get plenty of breeze and shelter.

"The Donkey Sanctuary visited us this week and are more than happy with the conditions."

The operators have also stated that different donkeys have worked throughout the week, have access to hay and water-on-tap and walk towards the sea, therefore into the breeze.

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The council's spokesman said: "We are mindful of the high temperatures at the moment.

"Officers from the council's Trading Standards service were this week in contact with the operators of both businesses which run donkey rides on the beach.

"Both businesses have established procedures in place to ensure that the animals’ welfare is satisfactory."

These include sufficient shade from the sun - which the businesses say is provided by their lorry which is moved throughout the day.

The donkeys are then able to access this as they are not tethered.

Kevin Mager with two of his donkeys on Weston-super-Mare beach.

Kevin Mager with two of his donkeys on Weston-super-Mare beach. - Credit: Mark Atherton

Anne Mager, who is responsible for the donkeys, confirmed to the Mercury that they are well looked after and that multiple services have checked on them recently.

She said: "The animals are designed to live in hot conditions and being on the beach is often better in this weather than standing in a field.

"We would still like to reassure people though that these are well looked after - they are not tied up, and they have hoofs so it is not the same as a dog standing on the sand with burning paws."