September 3, 2008

Back doing donkey work and saving the planet

Posted in International Economy · 31 comments ·
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Recently, I overheard a conversation about donkeys at a bar in Connemara. Being a committed suburbanite, the price of donkeys is not something I’d know much about, but this conversation was different. It was as enlightening a discussion as I’ve heard in years and it contained a profound economic message. Let me introduce the “donkey indicator of consumption” or “DIC” for short.

What can the donkey tell us about the economy? Traditionally, the humble donkey was a sign of poverty. In the old grainy photos, taken by cranium-measuring English anthropologists, the Irish peasants stared vacuously into the lens flanked by their trusted, yet melancholic donkey.

Right up to the early 1980s, the donkey featured prominently in the John Hinde postcard view of Ireland. Everyone must remember the iconic postcard of the two flaming redheaded children, squinting — as redsers do in the sun — against the background of the 12 Bens, with the turf-laden donkey. The donkey and backward Ireland were synonymous. Back then, the donkey was known as the “poor man’s tractor”.

In the past 20 years, the poor donkey was ignored on Irish farms; as the farmers got richer, the stigma attached to the donkey was heightened and no self-respecting, ambitious farmer would be seen dead with a donkey when he could get a Massey Ferguson on hire purchase. So unloved was the poor auld asal, that Ireland became a net exporter of donkeys.

Until recently, the Irish donkey was being shipped out to Spain, where his determined and uncomplaining work ethic was still valued. In Ireland, the working donkey faced extinction. The price of donkeys languished. Three years ago, you could pick up a healthy three-year-old mare for around €500 — about the same price as a Labrador pup.

But the fortune of the donkey has experienced a rapid turnaround in the past three years. This reversal of fortune was evident in the West last week during the final week for taking home the turf.

Traditionally in the country, turf is cut in March or April and left in big “clamps” to dry out over the summer. Counter-intuitively, the drying season this year was only marginally affected by the torrential rain, because turf doesn’t absorb water once it is dry. So all over the West, men took home turf last week. If you witnessed this, you might also have noticed the return of the donkey. Farmers there have reacted to the ludicrous cost of fuel by going back to the donkey. As the price of oil soared, so did the price of the donkey.

Since 2005, the price of the donkey has tripled. Healthy mares are now selling for between €1,200 and €1,800 and there’s no sign of demand flagging. The sight of a little neidin laden down with two full “grills” (baskets) of turf is once again commonplace in Connemara. Likewise, the price of turf has increased. It is now trading at around €450 for a “tractor-trailer load” — this is up almost 70pc in three years.

As the lads at the bar in Connemara were suggesting, the donkey is back and the working donkey is something of value again, thanks to the raging price of fuel. In economics, this development is called the “law of unintended consequences”. This occurs when a development (such as the rise of China, which pushes up the world price of oil) ushers in an unexpected new golden age (like that of the donkey in Achill Island). Not even the donkey is immune to global trends.

However, the donkey is not just benefiting from the cost of keeping a tractor on the road, because it is not just the “working donkey” that has seen an increase in his lot over the past two years. The DIC index captures another, related yet separate social trend.

Anyone who was at the marvellous Electric Picnic noticed the environmental theme which ran through the three-day festival. Concern for the environment is now an essential part of the intellectual armoury of the discerning class. It goes together with a knowledge of world music, appreciation of diverse cultures and an understanding of the culinary potential of fennel.

People who are concerned about the environment define themselves by simplicity as opposed to complexity, frugality as opposed to flash. They promote the authentic over the fabricated, the natural over the man-made and the rural over the urban.

What could be more natural, simple and rural, than the humble donkey? As a result, the donkey is coveted by the discriminating class. The donkey is a fashion statement for environmentally concerned second-home owners in the country. In fact, nothing so underlines your hipness and right-on-ness as the sight of your own donkey grazing in the field out the back of the holiday home in Ballyconnely.

For our new environmentally aware middle class, owning, appreciating and telling your friends about your own donkey is a sign of social sophistication.

While your mates’ children are stuck inside, glued to “club penguin”, your own children are braving the elements, cavorting healthily with their very own donkey. They are at one with nature and the donkey is the poster-boy of the sophisticated elite. Responsible, far-thinking parents buy donkeys. In contrast, lazy, ill-informed parents buy PlayStations.

Thus it came to pass. The humble donkey is back. He is a cost saver against the rapid increase in the price of fuel. He is an environmental bulwark against the destruction of the countryside and he is a highly sought-after appendage for the educated elite.

The donkey is back.

This year saw the first Irish donkey festival which was organised by Dominic Gerraghty, known affectionately as ‘Mr Donkey’ (woodfieldopenfarm@yahoo.ie). It’s a long way from ‘M’Asal Beag Dubh’, but the “donkey renaissance” is one of the many contradictions of the globalised world.

Next time you want to gauge the impact of higher oil prices, just look over a ditch and see who is looking back out at you.


  1. Ger Kennedy

    David

    Excellent & entertaining article. A little light relief in the middle of a financial meltdown.

    However I think you may have missed one technical detail. One of the reasons for using donkeys on the bogs this summer may also have something to do with the lousy weather and the fact the bogs would be too soft for event the smallest tractors and trailers with the widest tires. The donkeys are better technology given the circumstances. I have prior knowledge of these issues given my status as a bogman in a previous life.

    Anyway, great artice. It put a smile on my face this morning. I know that there is a big mess presently wrt the economy, employment and house prices (sic). It is well documented and playing out like all textbook bubbles and we all know who is/are to blame. But it is nice to have little light relief in the middle of the whole thing. Excellent and funny artice.

    Ger

    PS I love the cartoon as well.

  2. VincentH

    Well, Dave, it might be given the year that’s in it a tractor would be up to its oxter the instant it wandered beyond the metaled surface.

  3. Philip

    I think donkey cost of ownership is a tad underestimated…damage to garden, being cross with the neighbours, keeping it fed and sheltered and vet bills…when it gets old you could have it for dinner…The rise of the techo economy from Asal Owners to AsalAtors :)

    I am looking forward to the revival of gambling play at the fare where if pissed enough you could risk life and limb tickling the asses whatsits – something else for our bored discerning classes perhaps?

  4. coldblow

    My father in law sold his off 10 years ago (the last donkey to be seen in that part of Kerry) and the brother in law has the farm now and he’s got new ideas – the most recent thing discussed was, would you believe it, ponies. Yer middle class back to nature brigade wouldn’t know how to operate or service an ass. And they bite. Only recently somebody mentioned how the old skills are rapidly vanishing – at a time they could well be needed again. Time was your average Paddy could turn his hand to a whole range of jobs, before specialization took hold.

    Ó Díreáin’s poem Stoite, the one that starts off with “Ár n-aithreacha a bhí is a n-aithreacha siúd in achrann leis an saol”, recalls how his forefathers built houses and walls with their own hands and left their mark on the world. It ends with what could be our epitaph: “Beidh cuimhne orainn go fóill. Beidh carnán trodán faoi ualach deannaigh inár ndiaidh in oifig stáit”. (And we’ll be remembered too. We’ll leave a pile of files behind us, under a layer of dust in some government office)

  5. Lorcan

    Donkeys are just the tip of the iceberg.

    Have you seen the price of point of lay pullets these days?

  6. Nice One David , I’m still laughing here thinking if Gormely and Ryan see this they will have us using the poor ould donkey for running the children to school , and their waste is good for roses too. I have a picture on my skype profile of a lovely Asal looking out over a stone wall on the Aran mor , my Italian and Spanish friends love it !.
    And since we are in so much manure now , maybe we should all get a donkey and just plead ignorance to the banks about ever gettin any money of them at all at all.

  7. Peter Atkinson

    David, one very pertinent point you omitted.The law now prohibits the cutting of turf for commercial reasons so even that luxury is no longer afforded to us.I can see the donkey being exploited in those adult emporiums in Kerry and its surrounds.Sods Law I suppose could apply.Maybe Cowen and Lenihan could introduce some form of RING fenced tax allowances for this..It may slip through the net with the EU and the US but the Gardai may have something to say about it.

  8. John O Connor

    David,

    You omitted one fact since the release of the movie Shrek the demand for the auld asal has shoot through the roof

  9. MK

    Hi David,

    I have a very limited understanding of the real donkey market but from what I’ve read it was I understand boosted in recent years by people wanting the “beasts of burden” as pets (perhaps green-types and shrek-fans alike). That saw a recovery/boost in the market. Indeed I witnessed cars stopping in a rural area to view a newly born one so there is an attraction. But I also understand that now that pet market has collapsed, in tandem with the property market/economic slowdown. I know less about the current workings of the turf-cutting market but the comments about commercial limits and it being a very wet summer may have been the main factors for seeing more donkeys being used in a middle of a bog in Connemara.

    In terms of the cartoon, it is apt that there are donkeys (the masses) who are pulling the cart of Ireland and there are many (not only Biffo) who are being pulled along for the ride. Ironically, it is the people (the donkey in this depiction) that put the politicians on the cart, and give them the reins. We can only blame ourselves if the calibre of them and the decisions they make are poor when there are potholes on the road, a steep hill to climb and whether they fail to apply proper brakes when we go down a steep brae. We may blame the Shreks on the back, but who is the real donkey here? If we want change, we need to change who we are putting on the cart. FF/FG/PD are probably not a solution, at least not form what they’ve shown recently, as the ‘disease’ of ineptitude is endemic. Lets see what the donkey’s will do ….. apart from braying!

    MK

  10. Ger Kennedy

    Hi All.

    I just noticed the comment rating at the bottom of each comment. Is this new? Who does the rating? Is there a rating standard?

    Ger

  11. Ciaran

    Every good Kildare stable man knows how to calm a skittish horse belonging to his pony loving brigade — put it in a field with a donkey, they’re the Rasta of the horse world. With the current economic panic may be should get a few for the park in Stephens Green, that way the Brian’s can go hug a donkey to feel better just don’t tell animal rights

  12. Ger Kennedy

    Hi David

    Just read all the articles (times/indo/examiner) about the financial crisis and the early budget etc. An early budget seems risky in light of the fact that the major tax take happens in November. This is after the new early budget and as a result the powers that be will not have proper visibility of the true situation when forming this budget. Seems a little silly to me.

    Also a few articles about how the builders are now offering interest free loans of between 15 and 30% over 5-7 years as deposits to apartment buyers so that the FTB’s can still get in with no money down. Lots of lessons learned there obviously.

    Further articles where builders are moaning about how the banks and government have deserted them in their time of need, the poor divils. (The same builders didn’t seem to worry too much about “deserting” the home buying consumer when the bubble was inflating mind you.)

    So how do you think all of this will affect the “DIC”?

    And where are those fundamentals gone I wonder? I havent heard one government official trot that one out for a few weeks.

    Ger

  13. Ire_in_Exile

    I don’t want to upset the good humour of an entertaining article- but surely the
    term Donkey applies not just to the beast but to the whole Nation?
    A recent news article stated that Irish people remain upbeat and positive despite the sharp economic decline?
    Upbeat and positive? They have been fooled and robbed on a massive scale by unscrupulous banking-builder Barons- and when the wealth was at it’s peak, they received nothing in terms of better public services or standard of living, in fact health care declined, roads congested, and basic necessities for living became exorbitant.
    But the Donkeys said nothing and celebrated their new found wealth, and believed in the con they were sold.
    Now it has all come apart, the Donkeys do nothing further but to labour on and accept their rueful faith….as Donkeys do.
    Centuries of abuse, repression, oppression, maltreatment, mistreatment, exile, and eviction has numbed the ordinary population of the nation into a stupered silence anytime they get a bad deal (which is about always) Their docility and gullibility is profound.

    So even though the harsh reality is out that the Celtic Tiger was all a big hoax to deprive them of what little last they had, they still say nothing against it and indeed continue on as” if it was just the way things are”
    I would invite any ordinary Irish person to visit Germany or Sweden to see how public services are run- efficient, organised and with the highest level of Transport, Healthcare, education and social care.
    Not because someone at the top is making a profit from all of this, and not because it is a privilige- It is because the ordinary people of these countries simply will not accept anything less!

    The Irish have to stop being Donkeys on their own turf.

  14. Your Cartoon also reminds me of one I saw back in Hollands main newspaper a decade ago of our politicians dressed in the old tweed jackets and the cut farm boots on with worn cap in hand begging from our rich Europe Neighbors , before they returned to Dublin wearing the Copeland suits and drinking and laughing in our new wine bars !
    Well today as a nation we have become the Asal’s to get whipped by our political masters who we have given too much trust to. Like the old asal we too will be expected to carry our fat and lazy over fed civil servants through the mess they have landed us into now and while any country person will tell you an old Asal has a bite, our teeth have been kicked out of us by our drunk masters , who now have even began to confiscate our booze on the streets.
    But webmaster good idea with the rating system ( some might say this it’s self will be a form of self censorship ! )

  15. Mick

    Hi David,

    Nice article. However, I am going to raise a non-donkey issue this morning and request that you or some of your colleagues in the media please provide a counterpoint to the current spin emanating from officialdom with regard to the proposed bailout of the property tycoons which is all over the news this morning.

    I feel this is a genuine national emergency and urgently requires that some of our leading lights address it and outline the consequences in the national media before it gains any real currency.

    I would imagine that you may be planning something along these lines already but I really feel like pulling my hair out having read the morning papers. Im at a loss as to the stupidity and spin of the arguments in favour.

    This must be opposed!

    Cheers

    M

  16. webmaster

    @Ger

    Hi Ger, the comment rating is new. Anyone can vote on a comment, simply put your mouse over the stars and award appropriately.
    It is designed to build up a reputation over time for all the regular contributors. If you agree, vote high, if you disagree, vote low. If you don’t give a donkey’s, don’t vote at all!

    It is one of a number of small features around the comments I am adding in to make them more useful/interesting.

  17. MK

    I think that any false propping up of the building industry will only get negative comments from the media commenators, “experts”, and vox-pop economists. Saving pain will only produce more moral hazard. Its the same with saving the banks. The bulding industry suggestion to bridge the mortage-suppliers gap to FTB’s is laughable, as it is another loan. FTB’s should wait if they have any sense to see how this market pans out. In a falling market, only those that have to sell and buy will do so. Those that can afford to wait (sellers and buyers) will do so too. This lancing of the ‘boil’ is necessary.

    The government can of course do some things to alleviate FTB’s and the market. They can get into the property game themselves, by buidling affordable houses on their (and local coco’s) land. That will provide some work for those destined to be laid off or already on the dole for 3 months, and will provide cheaper affordable housing for FTB’s and others, as well as some tax. That wont please the developers because the last thing they want is more supply on the market at reduced prices, but hey, we cant please everybody, least of all those that have made vast swathes of dosh on the back of the frenzy that it was.

    MK

  18. Ger Kennedy

    Mick

    I wouldn’t worry about it too much. They (the governement) dont have enough money to properly bail out all the builders. And they can’t borrow enough because of the ECB constraints.

    I am sure that some deal or other has been done with the builders/estate agents/bankers wrt stamp duty, low intrest starter loans or some other folly. Tom Parlon is from the same neck of the woods as Brian Cowen and I am sure that cell phones have been going like crazy all summer among such movers and shakers and that a deal is already done. However it is too late for property prices. The cat is out of the bag. Property prices amazingly do go down. They have a long way to go before becoming affordable again to the level where the average Joe/Josephine can reasonably pony up 20% of the value to get a mortgage. When that happens property will start to sell again. Not before. Any attempted bailout now will do no more than prolong the pain.

    I suppose you can’t blame the government for attempting a bailout when you see the numbers (tax take, unemployment etc). It is human nature I guess to try to close the gate after the horse has bolted. Hindsight and all that. However historical data from previous property cycles overseas should have told Ireland’s (and other countries it must be said) great leaders that it was all going to end in tears. A few commentators were ringing warning bells in Ireland and were berated as “talking down the economy” whatever the hell that means.

    In a year or two when there is absolutely no take from stamp duty and enough builders/propery developers have gone to the wall so that their lobbying power has dimished sufficiently, I predict they will abandon stamp duty altogether and bring in a property tax. That is the only reasonably stable means of collecting tax from property. They will call it something else like local authority charge or some other politically correct BS and claim it is a novel new notion etc. But it will be a property tax based upon some appraised value of the property. What a novel Idea. I heard of something similar once called Rates……

    Now Ireland has to look beyond the property monster and find some way of exporting and innovating our way out of the mess. No other way to do it. Think Finland.

    Ger

  19. Philip

    I do not like the site profiling or applying a comment rating system on this site. What is being attempted here? What is the basis of the metric etc. I like the idea that (mostly) no one has a clue who the anyone else is and the opinion stands on its own merits to be shredded, lauded, added to etc. It’s a fun and learning environment for all who have something to say without being personal. Keep it simple.

    BTW – I love all the donkey metaphors…clearly there a lot of untapped literary talent here.

  20. Ire_in_Exile

    …May I suggest that the Government would be a fit place for Donkey’s if it wasn’t so full of Asal holes..

  21. Lorcan Roche Kelly

    Ger > Now Ireland has to look beyond the property monster and find some way of exporting and innovating our way out of the mess. No other way to do it. Think Finland.

    The Lisbon Strategy’s (not Treaty!) stated aim is to make the EU “the most dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy in the world capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion, and respect for the environment by 2010″.

    Ireland has not, thusfar, been at the centre of this strategy, distracted as we were by the property bauble. But it does offer us a longer term solution to our current economic travails.

    As one of the PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain) of Europe we no longer have the luxury of taking our own economic path. The Irish ‘Donkey’ is never going to be strong enough to pull against the EU Massey Ferguson.

    If we do succeed in aligning our thinking and expectations with broader European economic models we may have some right to expect increased stability in the future.

    At least then our domestic policies will be aided by ECB policies, rather than corrupted by them.

    Lorcan

  22. Philip

    The donkey metaphor is one of subserviance.

    Donkeys are led or only lead when pulling weight. The poor ould paddy in the private sector is a great worker (longest working hours in EU) and delivers. It sickens me to hear this morning – yet again!! – of the Public Service pushing back on pay pauses, demanding even higher rates – I mean…Hello!!! Eeee Ahhh!!…Tax revenues are down, take a pay cut and suck in a get used to it – it’s not like they are loosing their jobs or pensions like the poor sods who PAY them in the private sector.

    I personally am very fond of donkeys for their stoic, plodding and usually uncomplaining nature. So many take advantage of them and it is with particular glee when I hear how surprised people are when the poor asses get a little cranky and maybe bite you. I do hope the intrepid donkeys who have been the real drivers of this economy (building, commuting etc) start to surprise. The Government, Bankers and Developers have mistreated the backbone of this economy long enough – as the unemployment soars past 300K in the coming months watch for the bite… it’s getting nasty out there and the weather is not helping.

  23. MK

    @Ger:
    A flat (rate-like) tax on property should be avoided, as should all flat taxes. They are not equitable. Taxes should be placed on two sources only, when money is made (income), and when money is spent (eg: VAT). At both of those points a ‘decision’ is made by a person or a business to go ahead with whatever it is they are doing. Paying a tax just for being there, a flat tax, should be avoided. Taxes for example as those for credit cards, RTE licence tax, anything that is FLAT, should be removed. My belief is that most people should be paying taxes, and that the taxes should be clearly visible and equitable. There are many areas of improvement possible. And we should pay for services. eg: water. Ireland is breaking an EU directive (has a derogation) by not charging its citizens for water usage!

    Improving the efficiency and the amount of our tax take is one thing, but imrpoving the value for money on the tax spend is of more importance. We need to do both, and come bad times, the deficiencies in both become plain to see.

    On PrimeTime last night, David Begg was suggesting some special support for affordable house building, a point I made above, and the EIU chap was advocating tackling the public spending, which I and many on here have previously advocated. The public service area is a no-brainer but it will be like pulling teeth. I do agree with Beggs as well thaht we need to tax the wealthy tax exiles. Irish Passport or Residency for 90 days of the year, Irish tax, plain as. And all those tax shelters and schemes need to be looked at.

    > I do not like the site profiling or applying a comment rating system on this site.

    @Webmaster/David McW: I think there is no need for it. Its a distraction rather than adding anything to the conversation/discussions/blogsponding that takes place here following the articles. Its akin to ‘social networking’ and for most people/users/readers, they do not care nor do they rate. The stars seem to be removed today ….

    MK

  24. Ger Kennedy

    MK

    I wasn’t advocating a propery tax. I was just saying that they are going to have to raise money somewhere for and it is an easy target.

    I agree that tax should be based upon ability to pay and flat taxes are inherently unfair because they aren’t based upon that ability. However take a look at stamp duty for a minute. It has to be paid by the buyer when buying a house which is one of the most financially tight times for most people. It could be argued that this form of taxation is based upon ones inability to pay. I do think stamp duty is a particularly nasty form of taxation. It exists in the UK as well (no doubt it is a hangover from our colonial past) but the rates there seem very small compared to here.

    Direct valuation based property tax has some advantages to the tax payer. It is a very predictable form of taxation. It could be loaded on top of mortgage payments as in most US juristictions so the pain isn’t so bad. It also provides a predictable and steady stream of income for cities/councils so thay they can reliably provide services from year to year. Stamp duty as we can see does not provide this steady income stream. Also being based on valuation is a reasonable guage of the wealth of the property owner. Its not perfect and I know I will have a rash of examples given of elderley people living in D4 sitting on huge paper values etc but I think those cases could be taken care of with good legislation. Anyway if stamp duty were abolished and Property tax brought in those elderly people would be able to trade down without having to come up with a big wad of cash to pay stamp duty for the move. Stamp duty has been cited as an impediment to elderly people trading down their big piles in the past. A property tax with its ongoing costs would encourage them to move on to more suitable accomodation. A property tax would also discourage developers sitting on property and landbanks etc because there is an ongoing cost of ownership.

    In a more perfect world the only forms of tax would be income tax and sales tax which are indicators of peoples ability to pay. (In a perfect world there would be no tax. However that would require us to abolish money. That is another debate altogether.) However in the real world, wealthy people figure out ways to avoid tax by paying professionals lots of money to figure out how to minimize their taxes. Property tax with its predictable nature is would be a little harder to avoid so it would be a more relaible source of income for the city/county.

    Paying property tax, like paying all tax, is a pain. However it is a little less painful and more equitable and reliable than stamp duty in my opinion.

    Ger

  25. Philip

    Why not go the whole hog and just have tax on property and on those things to be discouraged. No taxes on anything else. Stop impoverishing productivity – stimulate it. Simplify the revenue collection system overnight.

    I am fed up with property and land lying idle and then amassing massive extra value because of extra infrastructure to be deployed/ planned or being added. The extra value goes into the landowner’s pocket at no extra effort to themselves. A property tax would be the fairest and most cost effective and unavoidable tax there is to capture these guys. It would force land values down or force them into greater productivity to pay the tax. It finances infrastructure and ensures that those who benefit (i.e. get revenue by default) most from infrastructure pay the most for it.

    Ban stealth, toll, sales etc taxes. They are a tax on productivity. Pay per use is fair provided there is proper competition and no monopolies. If it has to be nationally owned, then its books have to be visible on cost of ownership to preserve some semblance of social contract.

  26. coldblow

    Philip, I remember Raymond Crotty (Ireland in Crisis) also advocating a land tax in order to increase productivity, ie to encourage move from extensive to intesive use of farmland. I think he compared with the situation in Denmark and Japan. This would be 20 years ago. The way he saw it then there was absolutely no incentive for farmers to improve output. (I know I made this point a while ago but no harm in repeating it.)

    Please rate this as I value your feedback highly. (Yeah, right…)

  27. Longlivetherepublics

    The government plans to introduce a water rate as the new tax to replace the stamp duty. That was the purpose of the recent documentary on RTE on a so called water crisis, an insidious disgusting piece of propaganda aimed at scaring the people into accepting it, the water tax that is. Philip is correct
    in saying that the things that are bad for the economy, the parasitic elements, should be taxed like hell,
    and the things which contribute to the health of the host as it were, should be given a break. This way you
    kill two birds with the one stone, which is you weaken the parasites and raise necessary revenue.

  28. David S

    I wish donkeys could clean and cook- it would give so many men the chance the get rid of the cow out of the kitchen!!

    Btw I spent a week in Spain- travelling from Madrid to Seville through rural Castille and Andulcia on the high speed train, and again from Madrid to Barcelona to stay there for the last few days, and not once did I see a donkey. Lol maybe they hide in the shade- am not sure wether donkeys like the heat. I know half of the yuppy gobshites buying donkeys probably can’t even handle them properly, and have them as a fashion statement- but if people want to buy them and refill our countryside with donkeys, good look to them. However as much as I believe donkeys are a part of the Irish landscape, I can’t see them returning to agriculture given the amount of food we need to produce now. Good look to all those donkeys- I salute them all.

  29. Davy 22

    I wish donkeys could clean and cook- it would give so many men the chance the get rid of the cow out of the kitchen!!

    Btw I spent a week in Spain- travelling from Madrid to Seville through rural Castille and Andulcia on the high speed train, and again from Madrid to Barcelona to stay there for the last few days, and not once did I see a donkey. Lol maybe they hide in the shade- am not sure wether donkeys like the heat. I know half of the yuppy gobshites buying donkeys probably can’t even handle them properly, and have them as a fashion statement- but if people want to buy them and refill our countryside with donkeys, good look to them. However as much as I believe donkeys are a part of the Irish landscape, I can’t see them returning to agriculture given the amount of food we need to produce now. Good look to the noble donkey- I salute them all

  30. Brian

    Donkeys are in demand for pets and grass cutters, as farmers are cutting down on beef animals as it’s not worth their while anymore.

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