February 2024
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Worried about donkeys? Or are you being taken for a donkey?

Wednesday – Thursday blog

I watch about an hour of daytime TV a day when I’m in the gym. Most of the ads seem to be for cheap funerals and fraudulent life insurance or else use multi-millionaire actors or former BBC journalists (probably with huge inflation-protected pensions paid for by us) to lecture us on why we should give our money to people in the world’s worst (usually religion of peace) hell-holes like the Yemen, Afcrapistan or Sudan. But I’ve also seen quite a few ads for charities working mainly in religion-of-peace cess-pit countries to rescue donkeys from appalling mistreatment. So I decided to do a quick check on the main donkey-rescue charities.

The Donkey Sanctuary

The mission statement for The Donkey Sanctuary is: “Working towards a world where donkeys and mules live free from suffering, and their contribution to humanity is fully valued”

The charity has a pretty impressive income of around £43m a year. I don’t know how much it costs to look after a donkey for a year, but let’s pluck a figure of £2,000 out of the air. If you then knock say 20% off the Donkey Sanctuary’s £43m a year for administration and fundraising, that means the charity could potentially be caring for more than 17,000 donkeys a year.

The Donkey Sanctuary doesn’t tell us how much their big boss gets paid. The charity only gives the minimum information required by the Charity Commission by informing us that the highest-paid employee gets between £130,000 and £140,000 a year.


The mission statement for Brooke is: “Brooke is an international charity that protects and improves the lives of horses, donkeys and mules which give people in the developing world the opportunity to work their way out of poverty”.

Its income is over £21m a year and the CEO remuneration is somewhere between £110,000 and £120,000.

Society for Protection of Animals Abroad (Spana)

Spana appears to work with all kinds of animals, not just donkeys and horses: “To prevent unnecessary suffering to animals and neglect of their bodily needs by all lawful means and, in particular, by: 1. Providing treatment in hospitals and otherwise for sick and injured animals 2. Encouraging and promoting education in the humane treatment of animals any relevant environmental issues 3. Assisting in the enforcement of such laws as may from time to time be applicable”.

But Spana does feature donkeys quite prominently in its logo:

An oddity with Spana is that its income is quite modest- about £10m a year. Yet the highest-paid executive gets remuneration of more than £150,000 a year and there are two employees on £110,000 to £120,000. Quite why Spana’s bigwigs seem to be remunerated so much more generously than those at the £43m-a-year Donkey Sanctuary and at the £21m-a-year Brooke might be a question which the generous people donating to the £10m-a-year Spana could ask?

Spot the difference?

In 2015 I noticed how my elderly mother with dementia was being constantly plagued by supposed ‘charities’ all desperate to guilt-bludgeon her into donating ever more of her modest pension to them. The problem was that, once she had donated to a couple of charities, her name and contact details went onto a ‘suckers list’ that those charities sold on to other charities without letting my mother know how her name and details were being exploited.

Seeing how my ever more confused mother was being harassed by charities, I did a little research and then wrote a book – THE GREAT CHARITY SCANDAL

One of the many issues I brought up in THE GREAT CHARITY SCANDAL was that there were loads of well-known supposed ‘charities’ all doing pretty much the same thing. The example I used in the book was poverty reduction:

(left-click on image and then left-click again to see more clearly)

But given that we have over 200,000 registered charities in the UK, you could pick almost any issue, any type of animal, any disease or any type of misfortune and you’d probably find several charities all doing pretty much the same thing and all claiming that they deserve our money.

Many of these 200,000+ registered charities may be quite small. But there are also an awful lot taking in millions of pounds a year each and almost all will have highly-paid executives with loads of subservient minions and nice offices. Moreover, the bosses at the larger international charities, such as those in the above image, probably also have generous expense accounts so they can tour the world in great comfort visiting their many international operations.

In THE GREAT CHARITY SCANDAL I give the example of how two prostate cancer charities – Prostate Cancer UK and Prostate Action – seem to have realised that it was ridiculous to have two charities for just this one disease. So they combined and massively reduced their administration and fundraising costs:

Maybe the donkey/animal charities mentioned above should also merge? This would allow them to get rid of a few well-remunerated bosses, some expensive offices and loads of other administrative and fundraising costs. Even the Guardian newspaper – normally an enthusiastic cheerleader for public-sector and charity non-jobs – has suggested that there should be “many more collaborations and full mergers between charities”.

But, of course, I doubt the bigwigs on over £100,000-a-year each would be particularly enthusiastic about merging with other charities, so that more donors’ money could actually be used for charitable purposes rather than just enriching the lucky few, if this would mean them losing their important, more than comfortable sinecures and their chances of a few gongs, a knighthood or even a lucrative seat in the Lords.

A few years ago I considered writing a book about the UK titled “PARADISE FOR PARASITES”. This was partly inspired by my research into Britain’s massive, bloated, self-serving, money-grabbing £80 billion-a-year charity industry.

5 comments to Worried about donkeys? Or are you being taken for a donkey?

  • twi5ted

    I am gobsmacked the donkey sanctuary has income of 43 million. Their twitter feed often shows loads of happy donkeys at their farm in Devon and i have to say bring me a little joy amongst the gloom. I even purchased a fluffy donkey doorstop for my partner which was very reasonable and have to say high quality.

    But they seem to have done a good job of convincing me they are a local charity not a mega corp. The money is astonishing and perhaps we need a classification system like food labels with A for global evil corp mega charity like the those affiliated to united nations etc then B for national and C for local.

    If you had asked me before this blog what the income of the donkey sanctuary was i would say a few hundred thousand and chief exec probably being paid nothing as presumed it was wealthy patrons who set it up. What an eye opener.

  • Bill Airway

    About twenty years ago, I saved up for a Business Class
    flight on the then newish Qatar Airways. Seated next to me was a young very well dressed man, who said he owned and ran a Nepalese childrens charity. I asked him how often he went to Katmandu. He said about six times a year and always in Business Class.

    According to Giving Great, there are 135 UK based Nepalese Charities alone.

  • A Thorpe

    I don’t object to people giving to charities but I object very strongly to the government giving my money to charities. Dominic Cummings apparently said this in connection to government money going to Stonewall. Whatever the charity they are all unaccountable to the people donating and as pointed out here there is no coordination between charities doing the same thing. To adopt a view of Thomas Sowell on another issue, there is no incentive for them to solve the problems because they would be out of a job.

    I think the charitable status is often questionable and it would be interesting to see how many would continue without it. The Nuffield boasts that it’s charitable status allows it to do more and at a lower cost. I cannot see any evidence of that and it is also unaccountable, not even to patients. Their terms say they are not responsible for anything their authorised consultants do and there is no agreement between patients and consultants. Keep well away from them.

  • Ed P

    TV ads for water aid pop up regularly, always £2 or £3 per month ‘needed’, with children drinking polluted water from animal watering/shit holes.
    “X has to walk 10 miles every day to get the dirty water”
    If even a few pence of one’s pound actually made a difference to X’s life, I would donate, but, of course, 95-99p is stolen by ‘overheads’, bribes and corruption on the way.

  • Brian Ferrier

    Most of these villages are deliberatly situated several miles away from the nearest watering holes as otherwise people would not send money, especially if the village was a lush oasis.

    Many of the water sources are deliberatly polluted and infested with disease ridden parasites to increase the village cashflow.

    The clips of a fly crawling over a childs eye can take hours to effectivly capture on film so Chinese scientists, funded by US taxpayers, are working with Hollywood studios to be able to simulate such scenes with Covid infested door handles, pre-licked by bats, neatly arranged in the background.

    For as little as a one off donation of £50.00, I believe you can actually have a child of your choice branded with your own name or logo. This can make an unusual Christmas present for a relative or loved one who is bored by your previous virtue signalling attempts to pay for obstacles to be erected on their behalf, in the hope that they will impede the blind.

    An interesting aspect of UK charities is the large and disproportionate number of our Asian community who are registered as directors and ofice holders. Who knew that these people would give of their time so selflessly ?

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