Code of Ethics

Donkey All Breeds Society of Australia [DABSA] expects that members have a commitment to a code of ethical behaviour in owning, breeding, and selling donkeys. The DABSA code of ethics outline a minimum standard of practice expected of its members in the following areas:

  • Care & Maintenance
  • Breeding
  • Buying & Selling of donkeys/mules

Repeated failure to abide by this code can result in loss of membership to DABSA and any privilege such membership may enjoy with forfeiture of any dues or fees paid.


1. Provide adequate and suitable feed and clean water

Sufficient to maintain appropriate weight, in an adult donkey or to enable healthy development of foals. This will depend on availability of grazing, age etc this should always include plenty of roughage. Conversely overfeeding should be avoided due to the risk on founder.

2. Provide adequate paddocks and shelter

Shelter should available to protect against weather extremes suited to location and climate. Paddocks to be adequately and safely fenced with special consideration of enclosures for Jacks especially from other stock or from neighbours paddocks where necessary.

3. Provide regular maintenance for good health

Feet require attention on a regular basis by a competent person so as to maintain proper hoof shape and function. Teeth will need checking and possible attention by an equine dentist or vet and vaccinations such as tetanus or as recommended by attending vet.

4. Donkey Foals

Donkeys are long lived and slower maturing than other equines, therefore should not be weaned too early. Foals gain nourishment and also emotional development from their mothers and should not be weaned before six months, optimally allowing a short period of adjustment to being weaned before being available to new homes. Donkeys benefit from companionship either their own kind or other suitable grazing species

5. Donkeys bred by DABSA members

Donkeys bred by DABSA members are intended for stud, show or pet and performance purposes, and therefore foals should be handled from birth so as they have confidence in humans. All donkeys later require training to halter/ and or access to suitable facilities to enable basic regular care to be administered in a safe and clam manner. Further training as suited to age and purpose is highly recommended especially for larger donkeys. Minimum would include handling feet, legs, head tying up and leading.

6. Veterinary advice

Veterinary advice should be sought for any ill or injured donkey. Any donkey who through illness, advanced age or accident etc cannot be treated should be humanly euthanized.


No Jack should be bred from unless it has healthy form to function, having no disqualifying conformation or other faults, and having suitable temperament. Mature Jacks should not be sold as pets to inexperienced people, and any jacks sold ungelded should be of breeding quality or with a commitment to gelding for pets.

7. Donkeys of either sex selected for breeding should be free of serious disqualifying faults. An animal apparently without visible faults, but who consistently produces off spring with serious faults such as misaligned jaws etc. should not be further bred from.

8. Breeding of registrable donkeys should be done with an eye to maintaining or improving the breed standards and breeding donkeys with good temperaments.

9. No jenny should be producing a foal before maturity. Guidelines to determine this can be accessed through the DABSA registration standards for each breed.

10. Methods of Breeding

Breeders need to educate themselves as to best practice in breeding systems, whether they use paddock or hand service from jacks. In either case the methods used should be conducted in a safe environment for handlers and all donkeys.

Buying and Selling

11. Members advertisements verbal or written shall be factual and transparent as possible. Members should ensure they explain the eligibility, registration and transfer requirements etc for stock they are buying.

12. Members should disclose to potential buyers all known information about donkeys offered for sale. This such as, Health, Vaccinations, Soundness to purpose, and registry eligibility of the animal and any future offspring.

13. For the protection of both buyer and seller, the society recommends members should commit all sales agreements to writing and provide copies of such agreements, bearing original signatures of both buyer and seller.

14. Seller should allow access if requested by buyers at buyers expense, a vet to ascertain soundness, check microchips and brands.

15. Sellers to be discriminating in the sale of donkeys. No member shall knowingly sell a donkey to a buyer who is unable to provide a suitable environment, proper nutrition and appropriate care.

16. For all registered/registrable donkeys it is expected that the DABSA member handle the registration and transfer of ownership. The member shall supply buyers with a copy of any and all forms necessary for a registered donkey and the transfer of ownership properly completed and signed, plus a copy for their own records. The seller should make sure the original certificate and signed transfer certificate is sent to the society registrar this will enable the registrar to transfer the donkey certificate updated to show the new owner when they become a member of DABSA

17. Members are asked to provide the Code of Ethics and Care Pamphlet etc to new buyers.

18. Sellers to explain the options and cost of suitable transport arrangements so buyers may arrange safe pick up and transport for their newly purchased donkey.

Buyers Responsibility

19. We advise buyers to be informed and are advised to take responsibility Checking for registration, unsoundness, eligibility etc.

20. Choose reputable breeders who know and love the breed.

21. Quality, conformation [ not as important to those who want a pet and performance and will not be breeding]

22. Good pedigree [ important to those who will be breeding]

23. Good disposition

24. Affectionate, trusting foal [ this comes from imprinting at birth and spending time with the foal]

25. Fair price reflecting of for example pedigree known animals, conformation, imported bloodlines etc.

26. Service after the sale [answers for questions which always arise after the donkey goes to a new home.

DABSA cannot deal with disputes between members that are contractual matters between the individuals involved.