Treatment of ‘the poor man’s horse’ is Ireland’s shame

May 30, 1914.

May 30, 1914.

A society has been formed for the protection of donkeys in Ireland. For years these patient little creatures have suffered a martyrdom of cruelty that might well be called ‘Ireland’s shame’, and it will be the united aim of 270 human men and women who have been brought together by the splendid efforts of Mrs Shewell to secure better and kindlier treatment of these poor little slaves amongst animals.

The work of the All-Ireland Donkey Protection Society will be hard work, for it will be dealing with a cruelty which has become a habit with those who inflict it, and a commonplace to those who witness it; but it will be undertaken by a sensible, responsible, intelligent body, who will spare no efforts to make it a big success.

The evil of cruelty to animals is one that no self-respecting nation will willingly have laid to its charge, yet a visitor to Dublin was heard to remark a day or two ago, “The Irish are a cruel race. I have been half round the world and I have never, even in Italy, seen a donkey used like that.”

The remark was called forth by the exhibition of a stalwart young fellow standing up in a cart and viciously kicking the miserable donkey straining painfully at a load out of all proportion to its strength to carry. Every blow was accompanied by the usual “G’wan owre that,” so familiar to our ears. It never occurred to the creature’s driver to get down and relieve it of his own considerable weight. He was not manly enough to encourage or help it a little, to replace his “g’wan owre that” by a kindly “gee up, now; come along; that’s right,” or an encouraging pat or two.

Greater facilities afforded by the authorities, stricter by-laws, and an effort by the police and public are needed to rid us of this gross offence.