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Last Updated: Friday, 8 December 2006, 16:56 GMT
Doomed donkey becomes opera star
Pollyann being brushed
Pollyann's feet were badly overgrown when she was rescued
A donkey that was saved from slaughter has gone on to a starring role at the Royal Opera House in London.

Pollyann, who lives at a sanctuary in Brightwell-cum-Sotwell in Oxfordshire, was rescued from Salisbury market in 1997 in a very poor condition.

The 22-year-old mare is performing in Carmen for the first time on Friday.

Six chickens from the sanctuary and Pollyann's friend and understudy, Tracy, are also heading to Covent Garden for the show.

Tracy will take Pollyann's place on stage if she gets sick or tired.

Pollyann is a seasoned performer and regularly takes part in processions, church services, steam rallies, fetes and carnivals, the sanctuary said.

Pollyann at the Royal Opera
Pollyann has taken part in church services, carnivals and other events

John McLaren, from Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary, said: "Pollyann came from the market, where she had been taken to go for slaughter.

"There is a great demand for donkey meat for Italian salami."

He said Pollyann was in a very poor condition with severely overgrown feet.

"She was turning them and actually stepping over the top of them to get along and in a lot of pain - not a very happy donkey at all."

He said Pollyann had recovered and now loved performing.

"She will pull me onto the stage to get there. I don't have to ask her, she takes me. She just loves every minute of it, and yes she gets a lot of applause."

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