The secret intelligence of donkeys

Agridirect.ie outlines how donkeys have been negatively characterised in most agricultural societies and explains why our prejudices are very misguided.

Stereotyping

Few farm animals receive more negative press than the humble donkey (Equus asinus). For most of the recorded history of animal husbandry, humans have depicted donkeys as ignorant, stubborn, stupid creatures. Indeed, the donkey is often evoked as a byword for undesirable human behaviour. In most cultures and languages, to call someone a donkey stirs up a range of negative associations. Where I come from, belligerent or wilful people are often accused, scathingly, of being “as thick as an ass”. In historical accounts dating as far back as Ancient Greece, donkeys were compared unfavourably to horses, due to their smaller stature, cropped mane, stubbornness, and suitability for hard labour rather than leisure activities such as racing.

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