Donkey’s death sparks call for rethink of fireworks displays

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A RESCUE donkey who was saved from the back of a meat truck in France and rehomed in Jersey has died of a heart attack potentially caused by the stress of fireworks, according to its owners.

Lara Manning, from animal sanctuary Finni’s Ark, has called for such displays to be restricted to official shows only in the future, and for organisers to notify nearby animal owners when they are being held.

Her comments come after Mary, an eight-year-old donkey described as ‘young, bright and healthy with absolutely no signs of illness’, passed away suddenly on Sunday evening.

‘We have spoken to the vets, who determined it was a heart attack and while we cannot be 100% sure it was the fireworks, we strongly suspect it was the stress caused by a number of displays going off throughout the weekend,’ she said.

‘Mary was tough and stoic on the outside but like many donkeys and other animals was known to hide stress and fear on the inside.

‘Up until the time of her death she had been a young, bright and healthy donkey with absolutely no signs of illness and then on Sunday, having checked on her a short time earlier, we came back to check on her again, only to find that she had passed,’ she added.

A number of Islanders have joined in calls to support animals who become distressed by fireworks.

Earlier this week, Kat Knight started a petition to ‘make fireworks with a bang illegal in Jersey to prevent the stress of animals’.

The petition has since gathered 731 signatures in two days and will require a ministerial response if it reaches 1,000.

Ms Manning said: ‘I am not anti-fireworks at all, but I think the silent fireworks would be a good route to go down or for people to consider only organised displays being held in the future. If animal owners are notified, then they can take precautionary steps when they know displays will be going on.’

She added: ‘It can be down to the individual animal and whether they feel stress or not, but we know that Mary was not the only animal suffering this weekend.’

Mary was rescued off the back of a meat truck in France two years ago and placed at the St Ouen sanctuary with her companion, Minnie – with whom she shared a ‘strong bond’, according to Ms Manning.

‘We have fortunately been offered a friend to try to help Minnie with her grief, so fingers crossed there will be an update on that soon,’ she said.

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