top of page

Starting Over CR
Fighting to add donkeys to the list of protected natural values in Israel

Starting Over CR is an area of ​​activity of the organization for animal rights.

The organization 's activities began with the rescue and rehabilitation of animals, as time passed it was increasingly exposed to the bitter fate of donkeys in Israel and around the world and as a result began to operate beyond the field of rescue and rehabilitation:


As most of you know, we are fighting with all our might to protect the donkey population in Israel and put every donkey in distress within the confines of the sanctuary,those who have already suffered at the hands of their abusers and those who clearly face such a grim prospect.


The fate of the donkeys in  Israel is sad and bitter, in the slightly less bad case, they collapse and die after long years of hard labor. In the worst case, they fall victim to horrific abuse, mostly inflicted by children for amusement, or, once they can no longer carry heavy loads, they are sold by merchants to Gaza, and from there are exported to Egypt as part of the donkey skin trade. This global trade takes place because, unfortunately for donkeys, a highly sought-after ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine and cosmetics, known as ejiao.


In 2016 this industry claimed the lives of 4.8 million donkeys that were exported from around the world, and since then the industry has experienced significant growth putting the donkey population under serious threat of extinction.

But this industry that is rolling in huge amount and its market value is estimated at $ 3.2 billion as of June 2022 - has found a solution and started donkey factory farming.

{To view market data, click here}

For those unaware of how animals are raised industrially, it includes genetic engineering involving great suffering, invasive breeding, daily violence, living conditions that can not be called as such because death is better, and in conclusion - it is a life of fear and darkness from birth to death.


The donkeys, one of the most intelligent and friendly animals in recent years, are undergoing an accelerated entry process into the animal agriculture catalog, and we are determined to work to remove them from the catalog before it is too late.


Please see The Donkey Sanctuary's detailed report detailing  the ejiao industry and its implications:

You are also welcome to watch the article that was Kan 11

The article presents the association's activities,

with the Ejiao industry in the background.

* Please note - the article contains difficult content


We dare to look at what is happening, because we know that their only hope is human beings, and that  they themselves are helpless in the face of this thing.

The goal of all our activities to protect donkeys from abuse, slavery and trade is to define the donkey as a a protected natural value in Israel in order to set a precedent, raise awareness and in cooperation with other organizations - promote their rights in other countries, until we can stop what is happening.


After discussions, many consultations with people at key points, experienced organizations and more - the way we chose is to empty the country of donkeys.

In recent years, thousands of donkeys have been transferred to Gaza by traders and with the approval of the State of Israel. According to testimonies from traders and local authorities, at most 400 donkeys remain outside the protection of sanctuaries. 

We started the project of transporting donkeys to sanctuaries in Europe in order to reach a state where there is no donkey in Israel that is not under the protection of a sanctuary, and from this reality to act to define donkeys as a protected animal and from there continue on to international activities as to protect them.

Just like it happened with rhinos and tigers - in the past, harming them was allowed and unrestricted, today the punishment for doing such is severe in many countries.


We have set ourselves to fight for the same status for the donkeys as well, because there is no justification for such pain and suffering.

The steps we are taking to make a change:

Flight project:

On 18.06.2022, the flight departed with the first 50 donkeys to the La Taniere sanctuary in France,

Subsequent flights are scheduled to depart at intervals of about one to two months from each other.

We are working day and night in order to secure funding, in order to obtain funding from various philanthropic foundations and we are determined to succeed.


International partners:

We are in contact with a number of sanctuaries in France, the foremost being La Taniere, which has already begun to receive donkeys from us.

In addition, we are in the process of locating and familiarizing ourselves with additional sanctuaries in Europe to ensure a safe and secure place for any donkey we manage to rescue.


The rescues continue:

We are doing everything to locate and receive any donkey shipments to Gaza, despite the economic, physical and mental burden involved. We have set ourselves a guideline - if there are donkeys that we can take to our safe and secure space, we will do everything to do so. This guideline entails many difficulties, but we are amazed to see time and time again how this very approach promotes us, allows us to raise awareness about our activities and the difficult reality of donkeys.

As we wrote earlier - there are currently about 400 donkeys in Israel that are outside of the protection of a sanctuary - we are going to take in as many as we can and hand them over to other sanctuaries in Israel and Europe.


The fight against the phenomenon of abuse:

The Educational Center - Herut Center, works around the clock to educate non-violence against animals and non-violence in general, with a clear goal to prevent further abuse, to educate for compassion, seeing and accepting the other.

Every year thousands of children, schools, at-risk youth and families come to Herut Center from all over the country and go on tours where they hear the stories of the animals and understand their harsh reality outside a protected space.

In addition, the Herut Center maintains a mutual rehabilitative connection with children and youth at risk that has a significant impact on both the animals and the children and youth.


Changing the status of donkeys to an animal of protected natural values:

The definition of protected natural values varies, in some sources it is "any living, vegetative or inanimate creature, which if not given full protection by law, may become extinct or irreparably damaged." Unfortunately, the donkeys meet this definition in a decisive way.

In the sources of the Nature and Parks Authority, the definition is "a natural value that in the opinion of the Minister of the Environment has value in its conservation or danger of extinction."

This definition is not yet compatible, but we are working to show the full picture to the Minister of the Environment and illustrate to him the need to define them as a protected natural value.

Please watch the Donkey Flying Project movie detailing our activities on the subject

Establishment of nature reserves for donkeys:

Once the donkey is defined as a protected natural value, it will be much easier to  establish a reserve for them, whether with the participation of the state or without their help with the operations and financing.


The documentary:

The activities of  Starting Over CR is well documented with the aim of producing a full film about the reality of donkeys as tools, as animals prone to abuse, the ejiao industry, on our activities for them, on the significant enterprise of  Herut Center, the struggle to make them a protected nature value in Israel and establishment of a nature reserve for them afterwards.

With this film we will turn to sanctuaries and organizations working for animals around the world in an appeal for joint contribution on their behalf.


We are aware that our plan is not simple to implement, and that we may need to change our course of action, but we believe that in the flexible work model the goal can be achieved.

We call on you to take part, to contribute, to sign the petition, to spread our activities, to connect us with the press, people in key and influential positions, people who have managed to create capital and can support us, associations and organizations for animals in Israel and around the world - anyone who can help.

Please help us change the reality for them.

For any assistance and connection you can contact us by email:

We humans are their only hope.


The flight
The abuse
bottom of page