Home   |   About NMDA   |   NMDA Organization   |   Donkey Abuse   |   Membership Application  |   Shows   |   Breeders Listing    |   Contact NMDA   
Breed Standard | Ethical Principles | NMDA Gelding Program | DNA Typing | Photo Gallery | Publications


NMDA, in its mission to protect the breed and speak on behalf of all donkeys, believes any activity that inflicts unnecessary stress, pain or other cruel or abusive treatment on a donkey is unacceptable. This includes, but is not limited to "donkey roping", "donkey basketball" and donkey baseball. NMDA encourages anyone who is aware of or witnesses this inappropriate exploitation of the animal, to take a stand against these forms of tawdry "entertainment". The gentle, trusting personality that the donkey inherently exhibits should never be betrayed by acts of gratuitous cruelty.

Board of Directors
National Miniature Donkey Association
April, 2009

"Donkey Ball/Donkey Roping"


Donkey ball is generally performed as a fund raiser in schools, mistakenly thought to be amusing entertainment. Oversized/overweight adults get on the backs of these small donkeys and attempt to play the game of basketball or baseball. This is cruel and dangerous for the donkeys and a very poor message to convey to the pupils who witness this obvious disregard for animals.

No donkey/mule shall carry excessive weight in consideration of the size, age and physical condition of the animal and the following guidelines should be borne in mind:

  • Small donkeys/mules — 3' 4.16" in height to shoulder and weight limit of 110 pounds
  • Medium donkeys/mules— 3' 4.16" to 3.9" in height to shoulder and weight limit to 138 pounds
  • Very large donkeys/mules— Over 3.9" in height to shoulder and weight limit of 167 pounds

From "The Professional Handbook of the Donkey" by Elisabeth Svendsen)

Donkey Roping

Donkey roping is similar to team-roping steers. Donkeys are used over and over again for teams of ropers as "sport". The ropers consist of a "header" and a "heeler" which forms a team. The header ropes the head/neck of a donkey, the heeler then ropes the back legs of the donkey. Once stretched out tight, the stopwatch is stopped and time recorded. Donkeys are not built physically to withstand roping, unlike cattle. Donkeys will suffer the long-term effects - both mental and physical scars. Chasing, roping and jerking these gentle, terrified creatures to the ground in front of cheering crowds is morally reprehensible.

Information Factsheet

NMDA believes because there is so little general information available to most of the public that this may be one of the reasons that donkeys can be considered disposable and mistreated in a variety of ways. Please share this information with your local humane societies or law enforcement personnel so that people involved in animal welfare become aware of the nature these gentle creatures possess before a problem arises. With this knowledge in hand they may be better prepared to face cruelty issues concerning donkeys in the future.

"If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men."

— St. Francis of Assisi