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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 May, 2005, 13:27 GMT 14:27 UK
Donkeys 'must have lunch breaks'
By Clare Purdy
BBC News, Manchester

Donkey and Blackpool Tower
Donkeys must only work a seven-hour day
Council inspectors are checking that donkeys on the beach at Blackpool are getting their full lunch-hour.

The animals are undergoing their annual MOT, but checks are also being made that they are getting adequate breaks from their rides along the sands.

The donkeys and horses must only work a seven-hour day, have Fridays off and have at least an hour's lunch break when they can be fed with a nose bag.

A vet will also be checking their hooves, teeth and coats.

The inspections ensure that the animals are healthy for the summer season.

'Real pride'

As many as 200 donkeys and 40 horses will be put through their paces. Checks will also be made on the landaus - the carriages used for tourist rides.

Licensing officers will also be making spot-checks throughout the season to make sure the animals are well cared for, Blackpool Council said.

Water is provided for the animals to drink from at the resort's Pleasure Beach and Central Pier. The council has even installed special bins for horse droppings.

A spokesman for Blackpool Council said: "Many of the donkey and landau owners have run family businesses in Blackpool for generations and not only understand the importance of keeping their animals happy and in good health, but also take real pride in making them look as smart as possible."

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