The Donkey Sanctuary has launched a set of guidelines to protect equines from suffering the effects of dehydration during transportation.

Thousands of equines are transported each year throughout Europe and many will have never, or rarely, travelled in a vehicle before.

The aim of the guidelines, produced by the sanctuary working with a group of industry experts, will help anyone involved in the transportation of equines to learn more about its effects on the animal’s watering needs, steps to prevent dehydration and its associated problems, possible signs and action required if such signs occur.

Key points from European legislation have also been included to enable people to understand their duties to these animals by law.

The sanctuary’s director of care and welfare Andy Foxcroft said transportation is clearly a delicate process and a risk for the welfare of all equines.

“By highlighting the effects, steps of prevention and signs of dehydration, unnecessary stress and suffering can be reduced. People transporting equines should be aware of their duty of care during this process,” he said.

The new guidelines reveal dehydration can lead to aggressive behaviour, exhaustion and colic. Equines must be fully hydrated before travelling to help prevent health and welfare problems developing.

The Donkey Sanctuary has also produced a free handbook covering every aspect of understanding the needs of donkeys and mules and how best to provide correct care.

For more information or to download the handbook, visit

Donkey care fact sheets are also available to download from the donkey health and welfare section of the website.

The Donkey Sanctuary supports work to alleviate the suffering of donkeys in 30 countries around the world. In the UK it also provides donkey-assisted therapy for children and adults with additional needs and therapeutic visits to care homes.

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