writes Matthew Dixon

Penryn-based donkey sanctuary, The Flicka Foundation has welcomed two new arrivals after they were saved from certain death on the continent.

Mother and daughter pair, Marla and Peaches, aged 21 and 17, are now safe at the sanctuary after the charity and its supporters pulled out all the stops to save them.

Flicka heard about the donkeys back in November, when they were reported being kept in a holding pen with the "meat man" in France; unbelievably taken there when their previous owners could no longer care for them. They were due to make the horrific journey to the abattoir in Italy for slaughter, in just one week's time.

The race was on to get the pair to a safe holding, but, first, funds to cover the rescue mission had to be raised. From previous experience, the charity knew they would need to find a minimum of £4000 to cover boarding fees, transport to the UK, paperwork and certificates, as well as initial veterinary and healthcare costs for the equines.

Charity Director Judy Giles said: “We frantically launched an urgent fundraising appeal and we were truly overwhelmed by the kind and generous support we received - hitting our target in less than 24 hours. As soon as we raised the necessary funds to save Marla and Peaches, we worked quickly, liaising with our contacts in France to ensure we could rescue them in time, and we are thrilled that we did just that.”

She added: “Knowing we have saved these girls is wonderful, but their story serves as a stark reminder of the cruelty that millions of donkeys suffer worldwide when they are sold into the meat trade or exploited as working animals.”

Centre manager Lucy Cooper said: “Marla and Peaches are now settling in at our sanctuary and receiving the veterinary care they desperately needed, as well as all the love and attention they crave. Poor Marla had terrible teeth, which have now been treated, but she will require a carefully managed feeding regime. To know these beautiful girls went from being just days away from certain death to having a safe, forever home is just the best Christmas present we could ever ask for! Everyone here at Flicka would like to extend a massive, heartfelt thank you to the kind people who made this happen.”

You can follow the progress of Marla and Peaches on The Flicka Foundation’s Facebook page. The charity has also recently launched an urgent appeal to cover the costs of caring for its equine residents over the winter months. Find out more and donate here: www.flickafoundation.org.uk

READ MORE: Donkeys in a state of global crisis due to skin trade