I dined with donkeys yesterday! Sort of. I actually had lunch at a small farm deep in the Tarn-et-Garonne. The mission of this farm and its owner, Jan, is to rescue donkeys. The donkeys come from situations of abuse and neglect. from owners who, for whatever reason, are unable to care for them anymore, and from butchers. As you may know, horsemeat (and apparently donkey meat as well) are consumed as human food products in France. If a donkey comes in for slaughter and has any kind of infection, it is unsuitable, and Jan receives a phone call to come and take it. Yesterday there were 23 donkeys under her care; she had just re-homed 4 others. Regular lunches are a way of fundraising. Although Jan receives some help from the the Brigitte Bardot Foundation to help defray costs, caring for these sick, neglected and abused animals is very expensive. Before lunch, she introduced to each of her charges. They are sweet and friendly. It is beyond my comprehension how anyone could abuse them.
Sixteen of us gathered in Jan's warm and rustic kitchen/dining room. A fire blazed in the woodstove...a welcome warmth on the cold, drizzly day. France, England, Scotland, Ireland, Switzerland, Canada, America and Holland were represented 'round the tables. Conversation was lively, the company was convivial, and the food was fabulous! For 10 euros we feasted on sweet butternut squash soup, bread, paella, chicken, salad, a wonderful cheese platter, two different kinds of pie for dessert plus all the wine, water or juice we wanted. No one left the table hungry!
Hats off to the cooks!
Meet the donkeys!
If you're interested in more information about Jan's efforts to rescue and rehabilitate donkeys, please click on Liberte des Anes.