Animal Rights/Vegan Activists' Strategies Articles

Donkeys Bound for Slaughter Find Sanctuary at Oscar's Place

From Lex Talamo,
November 2022

Oscar’s Place, a donkey rescue named after Selway’s beloved cat, incorporated in 2020 and welcomed its first three donkeys — Goose, Pickles, and Shadow — in December.

Oscar's Place's Donkeys
Goose, Pickles, and Shadow. (Courtesy of Oscar’s Place)

As Ron King walked the land of a 75-acre property in northern California’s Mendocino County, he tapped into a new feeling — serenity.

He realized there were things about his former life as a Time Inc. media executive he had enjoyed — Versace clothing and his Mercedes among them — but that those same things did not bring him joy.

That a-ha moment catapulted King back to an earlier experience about a week ago. He was sitting by a pool on the property, “working on his suntan” and scrolling through TikTok, when he came across a tearful entreaty from a woman about a donkey slaughter auction in Texas.

He had deemed the donkeys’ circumstances “sad” but not made any immediate plans to do anything about it. But the plight of the animals kept tugging at him. Research led him to an article by The Guardian about donkeys massively culled for ejiao (pronounced eh-gee-yow) — a gelatin made with donkey skin that’s believed by some to have medicinal properties — as well as informational stories about how smart and special donkeys are.

King reflected. The moments in his life that had brought him the most joy were those in which he had a positive impact on others or contributed to something bigger than himself — adopting his son and helping friends find ways to manifest their dream lives being among the highlights.

That knowledge — coupled with the newfound sense of contentment from the land, whose custodian Phil Selway had at one point intended to be an animal sanctuary — inspired King to pitch a “crazy” idea.

He drew up a business plan to transform the land into a donkey rescue and adoption center and approached Selway, whose lifelong dream was to leave a legacy for animals.


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