for the love and health of donkeys everywhere

2020 Speakers

ImageEric Davis, International Animal Welfare Training Institute, at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis

Dr. Davis graduated from the University of California School of Veterinary Medicine in 1977. He worked as a farrier prior to his veterinary training and has experience in private practice, veterinary academia (faculty University of Tennessee, staff veterinarian at Iowa State University and Purdue University), specialty practice, and veterinary aid programs. He is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons and the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (LAIM).  While a faculty member at the University of Tennessee, in 1996, Eric started Remote Area Medical Veterinary Services, to provide veterinary care in under-served rural communities in the USA and abroad.  These have included Indian Reservations and remote communities in 12 states in the USA. Internationally, he has run or participated in projects in Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Egypt, and Sri Lanka. Currently, Eric is an associate veterinarian with the International Animal Welfare Training Institute, at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, working directly with students and concentrating on world equine health and welfare problems. In 2013, working with Dr. Stephen Blakeway of the Donkey Sanctuary, Sidmouth, UK, Dr. Davis started the Donkey Welfare Symposium, to concentrate on all aspects of husbandry, medicine, and welfare of donkeys. Eric and his wife, Cindy, run a 501 c 3 non-profit, Rural Veterinary Experience Teaching and Service, working to improve access to veterinary care in rural communities, and training veterinary students from a number of other countries. They live with their adopted ‘pod’ of 10 donkeys, their horses, and numerous other creatures outside of Davis, CA.

ImageAmy McLean, Assistant Professor of Equine Science, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine

Presentation: Survey of Inflammatory Markers and Virus Frequency in Burros Removed from Death Valley
Dr. McLean has had a life long passion for equids with long ears! She grew up on a donkey and mule farm in Georgia. She has devoted her professional career to conducting donkey and mule research that focuses on improved management and well being of these animals. McLean is an Assistant Professor in Teaching of Equine Science in the Department of Animal Science at the University of California Davis. She earned her Ph.D. from Michigan State University in the area of equine science where she studied methods to improve working donkey welfare in Mali, West Africa. She has conducted research with donkeys, mules, and hinnies in many countries with the continued focus of improving welfare of working equids with the idea that improving their welfare will only help improve the welfare of the families they work for. McLean remains active in the industry by serving as a board of director for several national mule and donkey organizations.  In her free time, she volunteers and serves as a board of director for the Equitarian Initiative who focus their efforts on working equids in Central and South America. She’s also a co chair for the Annual Donkey Welfare Symposium held on annual basis at UC Davis. She’s has been very active in showing mules across the country. She hopes the research and information she can provide to the industry will help others with this underestimated population of equids.

ImageAntonio José de Araujo Aguiar, Visiting Associate Professor, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine

Presentation: Nordestino Donkeys Brazil
Antonio graduated with a degree in Veterinary Medicine from the Federal Rural University of the Amazon (1985), Master in Veterinary Medicine from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science - Universidade Estadual Paulista Júlio de Mesquita Filho (1992), PhD in Anesthesiology from the Faculty of Medicine - Universidade Estadual Paulista Júlio de Mesquita Filho (1999) and lecturer in Veterinary Anesthesiology at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science - Universidade Estadual Paulista Júlio de Mesquita Filho (2009). He is currently an adjunct professor at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science - Universidade Estadual Paulista Júlio de Mesquita Filho. Has experience in Veterinary Medicine, with emphasis on Animal Anesthesiology, acting on the following subjects: anesthesia in asses and mules, total and balanced intravenous anesthesia in small and large animals and anesthesia in wild animals.

Image Danielle Calermajer, University of Sydney

Presentation: The Fate of the Illegal Donkey
Danielle is a professor in the Department of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Sydney, with particular expertise in human rights and theories and practices of justice. She is currently lead of the Faculty’s Multispecies Justice FurtureFix theme.
In the last ten years, Danielle's work has focused on developing effective human rights education, the prevention of torture and, more broadly, on developing effective strategies for preventing human rights violations. She is now seeking to join up the hereto disparate fields of human rights and democracy, environmental justice and ethics and animals rights and ethics. This move has been in recognition of the shared vulnerability and fate of all earth beings in an ear of radical environmental crisis and political fragmentation.

ImageMichelle Kole, Clinical Psychologist

Presentation: Compassion fatigue
Michelle Kole is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Somatic Experiencing Practitioner with 19 years of experience in the field of mental health. Michelle’s area of focus is in working with PTSD and other trauma related disorders. She has worked as a civilian contractor for the VA, serves on the Board of Directors, and as a subject matter expert for two nonprofits serving Fire Fighters and Veterans with PTSD. Michelle is also a Vedic Educator, having received teaching certifications in meditation, yoga, and Ayurveda through the Chopra Center in Carlsbad, CA.

Image Cindy Davis, RVT
Co-founder, Rural Veterinary Experience Teaching and Service (RVETS)

Presentation: The rescue and training of wild donkeys: Isla; a case report
Cindy Davis has spent almost 30 years working with horses as a surgical assistant, field anesthetist, veterinary nurse and animal disaster responder. She has held positions at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at UC Davis, referral practices, thoroughbred farms, and in veterinary aid programs. She has taught hundreds of students the basics of equine veterinary care, including horse handling, bandaging, catheter placement and field anesthesia. Her superior horse handling skills and her extraordinary finesse in anesthetizing untrained and nervous range horses is unmatched and has made her an essential element in safely delivering quality health care to underserved equine populations. Since she began working with the RAVS program in 2003, and since co-founding RVETS (Rural Veterinary Experience, Teaching and Service) in 2010, she has anesthetized over six thousand horses in all sorts of field situations. As part of her position with RAVS and RVETS, Cindy has developed and published detailed procedures and an extensive instructional curriculum that is required of all volunteers who participate in equine programs. Cindy has been the major organizing force behind the numerous yearly RVETS service trips, and in her position as program coordinator, technician and anesthetist, she has helped to lead groups of volunteers in Mexico, Nicaragua and on Indian Reservations of the Dakotas.

ImageBojia Endebu Duguma, Veterinary Medicine
Donkey Sanctuary Ethiopia

Presentation: Ethiopia: Working with diverse stakeholders: academia, researcher, development actors, equine charities and the ministry.
Dr Bojia Duguma is based in Ethiopia and has worked for The Donkey Sanctuary for more than 10 years. Bojia’s family had owned donkeys - he has always been appreciative of the help they gave and continue to give to families like his across the country. On hearing about the work of Dr Elisabeth Svendsen, Bojia made a connection that would change not only his life, but the lives of thousands of donkeys in Ethiopia.

ImageBen Hart, Senior Lead Behaviour and Human Behaviour Change
The Donkey Sanctuary

Presentation: Accessing training methods and advice to ensure an ethical approach to donkey and mule training
Ben is one of the UK's leading equine trainers, with a background in agriculture and a family history working with heavy horses. Ben has worked with horses, mules and donkeys all over the world: from mustangs and racehorses in California, stock horses in Australia, and working equines in Cambodia and Ethiopia. His approach utilizes the science of equine behavior rather than a single training method. This combined with his ability to work with human behavior and his delivery of training is unique, ensuring an outstanding training experience that is enjoyable and life changing.

ImageMegan Hensley, Farrier Specializing in Donkeys and Senior Horses

Presentation: Managing donkeys to optimize natural behaviors
Megan is the owner of Holistic Hooves and has 14 years of experience handling and trimming donkeys, horses and mules. She is a traveling donkey farrier, trainer, and advocate who is extremely passionate about the care of all equines, specifically donkeys.

ImageDerek Knottenbelt, Veterinary Pathology, Public Health & Disease Investigation University of Glasgow, Sarcoid Refferal Service

Presentation: Dermatology Skin Cancer in Donkeys
Derek qualified from Edinburgh University in 1970 and after a period in research, spent 12 years in private practice. During this time he developed a keen interest in equine medicine and in 1985 he joined the academic world. Derek moved to Liverpool in 1989 and has since become Professor in Equine Internal Medicine. He has published widely in the scientific and lay press and is the author of 10 recognised text books. Derek has received international awards for his welfare work, his science and in 2005 he was honoured with an OBE by the Queen for his services to the horse. He is involved with national and international equine welfare and other charities. Derek's main professional interests are in oncology, dermatology, ophthalmology and wound management.

ImageWayne Linklater, Department Chair & Professor Environmental Studies, CSUS

Presentation: The Future with Wild Equids: Reconciliation Science
Dr Wayne Linklater is Professor and Chair of Department of Environmental Studies in the College of Social Science and Inter-disciplinary Studies at California State University in Sacramento. His research and teaching focus on human-dimensions ecology, wildlife biology, conservation and management, and considers the roles of science in society. He worked for 15 years in New Zealand and for 8 years in southern Africa.

ImageJohn Linnell, Senior Research Scientist, Department of Terrestrial Ecology Norwegian Institude of Nature Science

Presentation: Rewilding Kulans in Mongolia
Dr. John Linnell is a Senior Research Scientist at Department of Terrestrial Ecology, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research. He obtained the doctoral degree in 1994 at University College Cork, Ireland. Dr. John Linnell is an ecologist who works with conservation related issues on large carnivores and wild ungulates. He has worked in Norway, the Baltic States, Poland, the Balkans and India. He has been responsible for coordinating several interdisciplinary projects. In addition to research he has also been involved in policy support projects for the government of Norway, the Council of Europe and the European Commission. He has published 223 scientific papers, 11 books, 8 book chapters and 29 scientific reports. He is an associate editor for Wildlife Biology, and a member of the Large Carnivore Initiative for Europe (LCIE-IUCN/SSC).

ImageJorge Lohse, DVM, Phd, MSc Equinos Chile

Presentation: Feral Donkeys in Chile
Jorge Lohse is in private practice as an Equine Sport Medicine Advisor in Chile with consultancies abroad.  He is a DVM category 4* as Endurance Official Veterinarian by Equestrian International Federation (FEI), an exhibitor in Chile and abroad, a professor in the School of Veterinary Medicine in Andres Bello University, experienced in projects and research. He holds the following degrees: PhD (Andres Bello University), MSc and Specialty in Clinical Sciences in Equines (Austral University of Chile) with advanced residencies in Germany, Argentina, Uruguay and USA.  He is a member of Scientific Committee of Association of Chilean Equine Veterinarians, and a member of Equitarian Initiative (EI). For many years Jorge worked on projects with the working equids in Central Chile, Patagonia and Rapa Nui, also in campaigns and projects since 2018 with EI in Peru and Ecuador.

ImageErick Lundgren, Wildlife Biologist, Death Valley Donkey Research

Presentation:Wild Donkeys in Australia
Erick Lundgren's research focuses on the ecosystem processes and characteristics emerging from novel ecosystems. Studying these novel interactions provides an opportunity to see modern ecosystems more clearly and to test key assumptions behind conservation philosophies. Much of his field research has been focused on ecosystem engineering by introduced megafauna. Complimentary to this work, he has worked to develop a large international collaboration focused on macroecological questions regarding how the twin forces of extinction and introduction have shaped ecosystems from the Late Pleistocene to today. The fundamental goal of his research is to provide insights that can help shape ethical and practical responses to ecological change.

ImageAarian Wallach, Lecturer, School of Life Sciences Member
Centre for Compassionate Conservation
University of Technology Sydney

Presentation: Invisible Megafauna
Aarian Wallach's work combines ecological science with ethics to promote compassionate approaches to conservation. She collaborates with landholders to protect wild animals from killing programs in conservation, farming, and commercial practices. Her ecological research explores how non-native species promote biodiversity, and how apex predators enable native-non-native coexistence.

ImageJavier Gonzales Navas, Veterinary Medicine
University of Cordoba, Spain

Presentation: Sustainable Donkey Genetics and Genetic Diversity
Francisco Javier Navas González DVM PhD currently works at the Department of Genetics, University of Cordoba (Spain) in the area of quantitative genetics and biostatistics. His main interests are behavioural and cognition genetics, quantitative genetics of functional traits and biostatistics.

ImageWilfred Odadi, Ph.D, Ecologist
Egerton University, Kenya

Presentation: Donkeys and cattle cooperating in Kenya
Areas of expertise include: rangeland ecology and management; livestock-wildlife interactions; grazing management; sustainable pastoralism; wildlife conservation and management; ecology and sustainable management of human-dominated savanna landscapes; plant-animal interactions.

ImageAndrea Harvey, Veterinary Specialist, PhD scholar (wild horse ecology & welfare)
University of Technology Sydney

Presentation: Assessing Welfare in Wild Equids
Dr Andrea Harvey graduated as a veterinarian from University of Bristol, UK in 2000. Her initial career path was in small animal internal medicine, becoming a RCVS Specialist and ECVIM diplomate in 2005 and spending the subsequent 6 years in academia and private practice in the UK. After moving to Australia in 2011, she decided to pursue her other passion of equine welfare, enrolling in a PhD studying the behavioural ecology and welfare of wild horses. Andrea subsequently spent 4 years field research in the Blue mountains and Australian Alps, and is just finishing writing up her PhD. She also undertook Australian & New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists Membership examinations in Animal Welfare in 2016. Andrea is passionate about the welfare of horses, in particular Australian wild horses (brumbies) and outside of her PhD has set up a wild horse sanctuary on her and her partners 700 acre farm. She also provides pro-bono veterinary care and gelding of stallions for several rehoming groups in NSW, and is on the Scientific Advisory Panel for wild horse management in Kosciusko National Park in the Australian Alps.

ImageAlex Thiemann, Senior Veterinary Surgeon
The Donkey Sanctuary

Presentation: Preventative care that works for owner and vets
Alex quilified from University of Cambridge (1989). She worked in mixed and then equine practivce before joing The Donkey Sanctuary in 1998. She gained a Certificate in Equine Practice in 1995, a Masters in International Animal Health in 2009 and Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Authority in 2015.
Alex has extensive donkey medical and surgical experience in the UK, Europe and with working with donkeys globally.

ImageBrieanah Schwartz, Government Relations and Policy Counsel
American Wild Horse Council

Presentation: AWHC's Solutions to Wild Burro Problems
Brieanah Schwartz, received her J.D. from the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law in Baltimore, Maryland and graduated with a concentration in Environmental Law. She is now barred in the District of Columbia. Brieanah is responsible for advancing AWHC’s position before Congress and this administration, for producing comments that AWHC submits, and for assisting the litigation teams on all of AWHC’s active cases.

ImageKate Shoenecker, PhD Ecologist
U.S. Geological Survey

Presentation: Tracking wild donkey traveling behavior
Effects of grazing on range and fire supression

Kate Schoenecker has conducted research on ungulate ecology for 19 years for the U.S. Geological Survey and leads the Ungulate Ecology Project. She has a collaborative research program and an Affiliate Faculty position in Ecosystem Science and Sustainability at Colorado State University.

ImageLaura Snell, County Director and Livestock & Natural Resources Adviser
Modoc County Agricultural Extension

Presentation: Economics of wild burros on the range
Laura Snell is a Livestock and Natural Resource Advisor in Modoc County. Some of her projects include long term range monitoring trends, meadow monitoring, wild horse and wildlife interactions, Juniper and invasive species removal, and post-fire grazing research. Laura hosts a winter beef health meeting and has provided assistance for poultry, small and large livestock operations, and the local food movement.

ImageAlfonso Lopez, Senior Corporate and Government Relations Consultant
Brooke USA

Presentation: Campaign to ban the sale of “Ejiao” in the United States
Alfonso Lopez has over 25 years of legislative transaction experience at the highest levels of Federal and State government. He has served as the Assistant Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration in charge of the Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs during the Obama Administration and as the head of the Office of Congressional and Federal Relations for the Commonwealth of Virginia during then-Governor Tim Kaine’s Administration. In addition, he served for years as a senior staffer in the U.S. Senate and a partner at a national Federal Relations firm. Mr. Lopez is also five-term member of the Virginia House of Delegates and serves as the Majority Whip.

ImageAmy Dumas, Wild Horse and Burro Program Manager
Bureau of Land Management

Presentation: The BLM's Burro Program
After earning her BS in animal science at Cornell University in 1990, Amy went on to Yale University to earn her master's degree in conservation biology in 1995. In 2000, she went to work for the BLM as a Wild Horse and Burro Specialist in central Nevada, bringing with her a BLM mustang she had adopted from a neighbor. As a Wild Horse and Burro Specialist, hands-on burro experience seemed a good idea, so in 2003, Amy adopted a 2 year-old gelding from the BLM. Amy and her burro have participated in numerous parades, fairs, shows, expos, and visited schools educating people about the value of the burros. Amy has been the Wild Horse and Burro Program Manager for BLM California, based in Sacramento, since 2008, where she and her burro still do as much outreach as possible.