The Donkey Problem: a review of donkey history and literature as it relates to donkey assisted therapy

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Authors
Melancon, Sara Jane
Advisor
Sumridge, Molly
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Date of Issue
2020-12
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Title
The Donkey Problem: a review of donkey history and literature as it relates to donkey assisted therapy
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Abstract
The current research body on Equus asinus is lacking in all areas which is a significant disservice to the donkey as a species. Despite the lack of research donkeys continue to be used for a variety of tasks, which include therapeutic purposes. Before the ethics of using donkeys in therapy can be assessed to the degree it deserves, a proper body of research on the donkey species must be available. Donkeys have been utilized extensively throughout human history and this history informs why current donkey literature is lacking. This study is a literature analysis examining current research on donkey history, physical and mental health, donkey assisted therapy, and ethics. Each area is examined to understand what future research should be conducted to inform the welfare of the donkey generally, and even more extensively as it relates to donkey assisted therapy. The analysis of literature attempts to determine what research should be conducted before considering donkeys for use in therapy. While the donkey is the focus of this research, some ethical considerations for humans are also explored in an attempt to completely address the need for research on donkeys through the lens of donkey assisted therapy.
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Anthrozoology