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Sunday, 23 June, 2002, 16:17 GMT 17:17 UK
Donkey sausages raise a stink
Donkeys at a donkey derby in Weston Super Mare
Campaigners say donkeys are seen as pets in the UK
A French shopkeeper is at the centre of a row in a Kent seaside town over his sausages - made from donkey meat.

Animal rights campaigners were furious when they learned about Dominique Levet's sausages, which he sells from his shop in Sandwich.

They pointed out donkeys were often transported from Eastern Europe under "horrific conditions" and are planning to protest to Mr Levet.


We have a very strong pet culture in this country. Donkeys are seen as pets. People will not tolerate it.

Paul Svendsen

But Mr Levet said his sausage meat comes from donkeys reared in France and said they were killed humanely.

'No food or water'

Paul Svendsen, deputy chief-executive of the Devon-based Donkey Sanctuary, says his organisation had "shocking" undercover film footage of donkeys sent from Romania to France and Italy, where donkey meat was common.

He said there was no way of telling from where donkeys had originated.

Mr Svendsen said: "These donkeys are sent from Romania to France and Italy and often spend four days on the move without food or water.

"Foals are often born on the way but many die or are trampled to death.

'Pet culture'

"Conditions are horrific."

He said his organisation would be contacting Mr Levet on Monday, calling on him to stop selling the sausages.

Mr Svendsen said: "Some people say what is the difference between donkey meat and beef?

Library picture of a plate of sausages
Mr Levet claims his produce comes from France

"But we have a very strong pet culture in this country.

"Donkeys are seen as pets. People will not tolerate it."

Mr Levet, who was unavailable for comment on Sunday, told the Mail On Sunday his sausages had not drawn complaints from any customers.

He told the paper: "No one has been angry. There is no cruelty."

Last year the Donkey Sanctuary successfully persuaded the owners of a chain of Italian restaurants in Scotland to drop ravioli made with donkey meat.

See also:

25 Feb 02 | Europe
23 May 02 | Health
24 May 02 | Health
30 Nov 00 | UK
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