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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 DVM 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.

Karen Rickards FRCVS PhD

Karen Rickards Qualified from Bristol University in 1994. Worked in private practice with a predominantly equine caseload and then did a PhD at The Royal Veterinary College investigating airway inflammation in horses with RAO followed by a postdoctoral position in the same subject area. Taught Pharmacology at Kings College London and then took up my current position as Principal Veterinary Surgeon at the Donkey Sanctuary where I have been for the last 7 years. We provide veterinary care for the 2,500 donkeys at the sanctuary and also support to colleagues caring for donkeys in our European bases. We provide training and education to vets, vet students, equine dental students, donkey owners, farriers and apprentices. We also provide help and advice to vets around the world.
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.