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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 August, 2004, 05:27 GMT 06:27 UK
Beach donkey contest on the pier
Donkey and Blackpool Tower
Judges are looking for fit, healthy and hygienic donkeys
The best beach donkeys in the region will be lining up in Blackpool to be judged in a national competition.

Experts from The Donkey Sanctuary will rate the animals on how fit, healthy and hygienic they are, as well as their overall suitability to the job.

Blackpool scooped two awards in 2003, winning the best beach donkey and best group of donkeys categories.

The sanctuary says the country's best donkey operators should be recognised for good animal welfare practice.

The regional heat of the Britain's Best Donkey contest will take place on Blackpool Pier at 1130 BST.

Judges will be looking at the animals' eyes, teeth, body and feet, as well as the cleanliness of their tack.

The Donkey Sanctuary says the competition promotes fit and healthy working beach donkeys and reassures the public that the animals are cared for.

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