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Peaceful Pastures: Meet our Founder Beth Portrait shot with Donkey

Peaceful Pastures Donkey Rescue:
Meet our founder, Beth Hakala.

One woman’s dream – How we began.

The Story of Peaceful Pastures

Peaceful Pastures Donkey Rescue was founded in 2021 after a life-changing experience. I grew up with equines and always found great comfort in being with them. After agreeing to get a donkey for my daughter, we attended a horse auction. There were several donkeys and we bid a couple times on each, but then Waffles came out into the ring. They were pushing her, hitting her, and she appeared to have a hard time walking. She looked up at the audience and the terror of the situation was obvious in her eyes. I knew she had to come home with us, and I bid until I won. 



Waffles had awful unkept feet. They were so bad she could barely walk. She was such a sweetheart and loved human attention. Knowing how social donkeys are, I then set out to get Waffles a friend. I contacted a rescue, Blue Haven Equine Sanctuary and Rescue, where I met Pam. From there I adopted Wilbur, a gelded mammoth donkey, to be buddies with Waffles. In telling Pam about the auction experience, she began educating me on the horrors of auctions and kill pens. Once I learned what these poor animals go through and their fate, I knew my future was about to drastically change. 

With over 200 acres, I knew I could save several donkeys. I began going to auctions, learning more about kill buyers, kill pens and auction trading. Of course, I brought home several more donkeys. Working with Pam and various fundraisers, I started receiving groups of kill pen donkeys. They were sick, abused and malnourished. We treated them medically, put them on a nutrition plan and worked on socializing them. They began calling me the Donkey Whisperer due to the wild donkeys that I tamed into loving friends. We were actually helping the donkeys and saving their lives. It was fantastic!


Donkeys in Kill Pens 

Then came the game-changer. I was asked to take in some kill pen donkeys, and our Board member Jake was to take in an orphan horse. We convoyed with trailers to the kill pen. What an eye opener! What I saw was very sad, sick animals with no food and old, stagnant muddy water to drink. The people there were hitting them in the head to get them to move and were indifferent when I told them about one in respiratory distress. His response, “yeah they die in places like this.” We were there to pick up 16 donkeys and the horse. We left with 22 donkeys and the horse.


On our way back, I rallied the troops and was able to get a fence built to create a large quarantine area to care for these sick animals. A few were beyond saving and passed away, despite top-notch medical care. But most recovered and did well. However, my donkey count instantly went from 24 to 46. I knew I needed to adopt out some donkeys to loving homes in order to save more. Rescuing donkeys was my calling. It was time to officially become a rescue.

Rescued donkeys arriving on the property

We obtained nonprofit charity status through the IRS and continue to work with Pam of Blue Haven. We maintain around 200 donkeys, a couple mules and hinnys, and around 10 horses. Our funding is largely through personal funds with the help of donations, grants and fundraising activities. The large animal welfare groups and large donkey rescues turn their backs on auction and kill pen donkeys and refuse to help end this abuse.


These equines are desperately in need. They are the ones who suffer at the hands of abusers, are staved and neglected. These are the donkeys we help at Peaceful Pastures…….the forgotten ones.  My dream now is to continue to save donkeys, but also to introduce others to the emotional connection and therapeutic benefits of spending time with donkeys. By educating people on the abusive auction, trader and kill pen industry and showing them the personality and love of the donkey, we can get support to shut this industry down. 


Peaceful Pastures donkeys with their adoptees!

Thank you for taking the time to visit our page and learn about what we do.


Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions.

Best wishes,

Beth Hakala, Executive Director

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