For several weeks now I have been in negotiations with the seller of my donkeys, the veterinary surgeon acting on his behalf, and trying to complete all the necessary paperwork for the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, in order to complete my purchase of two donkeys and bring them to the field and the donkey house I have prepared.

The new regulations for equines, which are the result of a massive EEC initiative that have put many equine establishments out of business because they could not afford to keep up with the burroeaucracy, make it very hard for an individual to buy and keep a donkey as a pet. They are applying all the agricultural norms, together with big money paperwork, to anyone who simply wishes to keep a donkey as a pet.

At present I have my lovely donks, Matilde and Rubí waiting in the Sierra Bernia. They will not be here for a very long time. The paperwork is enormous, just to transfer these two donkeys from a place twenty miles north!

The expense is also becoming quite enormous. I hope they will come here one day, but at present I am trying to balance that hope against the sad realism that I might have to say goodbye to the whole project, lose my two hundred Euro deposit on the donkeys, and regard the animals as a dream that will never be realised.

This burroeaucracy has put too many obstacles in the way and I do not know if the simple vision of owning two donkeys in a perfectly suitable field will ever be allowed!


About Gareth Thomas

After a mixed career as an aircraft technician, London fringe theatre playwright, Franciscan friar, and secondary school teacher, I find myself looking after the needs of four donkeys in a remote location in the mountains in the Costa Blanca. I like to listen to BBC Radio 4 and the wind in the pine trees. I am writing a comedy about a school in Benidorm. My favourite film of all time is "Jean de Florette". If I had my time again I would not have spent the early 1970s working for Special Branch.
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8 Responses to Burroeaucracy

  1. Karin says:

    Could the current “owner” lease your fields as a home for more of their donkeys?? I mean when they get older they’ll need more room…so perhaps just “using” your space/fields would give the owner enough room?? Just a thought. And then in a neighborly way you could help out and feed etc???

    Really sorry to read this post and will be thinking of you. Here’s hoping to a happy ending. Karin

  2. RatBag says:

    Oh dear! The only suitable words are those which I never use. So sad.

  3. Barbara says:

    Shit! I would be really tempted to just go get them. Otherwise, euro mp, town hall, local paper………Stir!

  4. Geert Bakker says:

    Isn’t there a local or provincial farmer’s union of which you could become a member that could help you with the paperwork and/or advice? After all, the well being of your donks is paramount, isn’t it!
    The pilgrim I met some years ago who left with his donkey for Santiago had to leave her at the Spanish border because of regulations.
    Also horses were difficul at the time getting across. Necessary papers acquired in a big city in the South of France could easily expire before a horse could walk the the border at a normal pace.
    I’m praying for a solution!

  5. Frere Rabit says:

    Thanks everyone for support, thoughts, ideas… Geert, you have put your finger on the problem: if you are walking with donkeys now, the paperwork can expire before you reach your destination. As I said in my post, we are creating a world which doesn’t work any more. (Unless you are a petrol head, in which case you can just carry on messing up the planet with little constraint on your movements…)

  6. Geert Bakker says:

    It works for the bureaucrazy; it can’t afford to make things easy for us or else they might loose their jobs! It’s in their genes and a very successful survival strategy….

  7. Geert Bakker says:

    Perhaps there still is hope: Denmark got rid of it’s provincial governments.

  8. Wonky Pilgrim says:

    For a stubborn ass, a stubborn driver!

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