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More Speaker bio's coming soon!
We would like to thank the ASPCA and Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue for their generous support of both the 2013 and 2014 programs!
Eric Davis Veterinarian, MS DACVS DACVIM

Eric  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 (LA). While  a  faculty  member  at  the  University  of Tennessee, in 1996, 

Eric started Remote Area Medical Veterinary Services, to provide veterinary care in underserved 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.  

Ben Hart 
Equine Trainer

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.

Mihajlo Erdeljan, Veterinarian, PhD

Mihajlo is assistant professor at Department of veterinary medicine on Faculty of Agriculture, University of Novi Sad, Serbia. Currently working with students on equine group of subjects at all levels of study at his home faculty. In 2016 he successfully defended his PhD thesis under the title ‘’Research of equine influenza with different epizootic and clinical findings of infection’’ working with bought horses and donkeys. His main research areas are horse and donkey internal and infectious diseases. Along with colleagues from around the world he is co-author of donkey encyclopedia “Current donkey production and Functionality” published in Spanish (2016) and English (2017).

Leanne Proops PhD

Leanne is a Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Comparative and Evolutionary Psychology, University of Portsmouth, U.K. She holds an honours degree in Experimental Psychology (1st) from Sussex University and a Masters degree (dist.) in Animal Behaviour from Exeter University. Her main research interest is in equine behaviour, publishing studies assessing welfare, cognition and social behaviour in donkeys, horses and mules. In 2009 she was awarded the Cozzarelli Prize at the National Academy of Science in America. Leanne has studied domestic and free-ranging of horses and donkeys in the UK, Japan and America. Working closely with the Donkey Sanctuary, current projects include a comparison of donkey, horse and mule welfare needs across different climates.  

Francisco Javier Navas González, DVM MSc

Francisco Javier received his degree in Veterinary Sciences from the University of Córdoba in Andalusia (Spain) in 2010. In 2011, he joined their AGR 218 research group focussed on the breeding and conservation of domestic animal genetic resources. He started supplying technical assistance to the Union of Breeders of the Andalusian donkey breed and in 2012 he completed his Master’s degree on Zootechnics and sustainable management: Ecological and Integrated Livestock Husbandry.

In 2013, he began his PhD programme, focused on behavioural genetics codirected by the University of Córdoba and the Autonomous University of Barcelona. From 2012, up until the date, Javier has focused his studies on the genetic inclusion of behavioural and functional traits in the breeding programme of the critically endangered Andalusian donkey breed, which resulted in the publication of several international papers and congress proceedings.

In 2012, he began the international initiative “The Worldwide Donkey Breed Project” (WDBP) which connects researchers involved in donkey care or any other related science, parallel to the Biodonkey consortium of the CONBIAND Network which focuses its effort on the genetic study of the donkey species in European and Iberoamerican countries. In 2015, as a result of the WDBP, the encyclopaedia entitled “Current donkey production and Functionality” arose as a collaborative work, published in both Spanish (2016) and English (2017). Two remaining volumes are to be released in 2017/2018. 

Gigi Kay, Veterinarian

I was brought up in the Middle East where my first pony was actually a working donkey in Bahrain. My passion for the working equid developed from these early years. I studied anthropology at Cambridge and then did my veterinary degree at Edinburgh. For the last twenty years I have been directly involved with the provision of free veterinary care to thousands of working equids in some of the poorest corners of the world. I have been posted to various Arab countries, including Morocco, Egypt and Qatar, where I ran hospitals, trained local veterinarians and taught vet students from the UK, Europe and the US. I currently work as the Director of an American NGO - The American Fondouk, in Fez Morocco.

Ross Keller

Ross is a farrier and trainer based in Parker Colorado. Ross’ practice is focused on the care of donkeys and mules. Ross has developed protocols and practices specifically tailored to the unique needs of the donkey and mule hoof.  Having no prior equine experience, in 2000 Ross received the gift of his first donkey. That event started him down the path towards becoming an expert in the behavioral characteristics of these unique equines and ultimately to the development of an extensive practice in providing long ears-specific hoof care.  In 2012 Ross passed the Equine Lameness Prevention Organization exam to become a Certified Barefoot Trimmer. In 2016 earned his Farrier certification from the E.L.P.O. Ross is currently an instructor with the E.L.P.O specializing in the unique characteristic of the donkey hoof.  In 2015 Ross gave presentations on donkey behavior and training, and donkey hoof care at the Donkey Welfare Symposium held at University of California, Davis.

Jordi Miró, Veterinarian, PhD.

Professor and Secretary of Department of Animal Medicine and Surgery. Veterinary Faculty. Autonomous University of Barcelona.  Director of Equine Reproduction Service of the same University.  Member of European Society for Domestic Animal Reproduction.  Worked for 32 years in equine reproduction and for 25 in donkey reproduction.  Participated in 4 Funded Research Projects on donkey reproduction in Spain, 1 in Italy, 1 in Chile and 1 in Mexico.  Offered conferences on donkey reproduction in Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Bulgary, Turkey, Chile, Brazil, Mexico and China.  Fourteen scientific manuscripts on donkey science published in indexed journals.  Main research fields:
- Jenny endometritis postinsemination and possibilities to control it.
- The role of seminal plasma in the control of postAI endometritis and ROS in donkeys.
- Horse and Donkey semen fotoestimulation.
- Aquaporins in horse and donkey spermatozoa. Their role in cryopreservation process.

Samuel Macharia Theur, Veterinarian 

Samuel was born in December of 1981 in a small village at the slopes of the Aberdare Mountains – East of the Rift Valley, Kenya. He was among the lucky kids to join a University where he acquired a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science, Egerton University, a Diploma in Human Resource Development and latter a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT).
He has worked in various institution and in leadership capacities, as a College tutor, worked with the Green Belt Movement (tree planting program), Africa Network for Animal Welfare (Programs Director), Pan African Animal Welfare Alliance (Programs Director) and now with the Brooke East Africa as the Advocacy and Innovations Advisor where he provides technical, capacity building and mentoring support to six partner organisations implementing donkey welfare programs in Eastern Africa. Samuel is most proud of the work that Brooke East Africa has done to bring the importance of donkeys and donkey-owning communities to the spotlight and more so the recognition and inclusion of donkey’s in national and regional strategies including the AU-IBAR led Animal Welfare Strategy for Africa and the IGAD regional Animal Welfare Strategy. He enjoys the conceptual model of the mind, the heart and the hands for transformational learning and he is now committed to increasing community and institutions reflections, vision and actions.