This former British Airways stewardess gave up her job flying around the world a few years ago to set up a safe haven for donkeys.
A few years ago, Fensom was a habitue of commuter flights across Europe. Nowadays, the commutes are across the hazardous military checkpoints that separate Israeli-controlled areas from Palestinian ones in search ofanimals that are suffering — from overwork or abuse.
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Donkeys are still a major form of transport in Palestinian areas on both sides of the divide. But they are often the object of considerable cruelty. Fensom says she has rescued donkeys that were set alight, had nailsdriven into them or had been beaten.
At the sanctuary, they are brought back to health and put out to pasture.
The most common form of injury the sanctuary has to deal with are those caused by hobbling: the owner ties the leg with wire or rope to stop the animal from moving. But very often, the restraint bites into the flesh, causing horrible wounds — which occasionally lead to the limb having to be amputated.
At present, Fensom is taking care of 72 donkeys which she has rescued from points as far as southern Israel, and Hebron and Gaza in the West Bank.
Fensom scoffs at critics who question why she is taking care of animals when there is so much human suffering in the region. She says that tragic as it is, human conflict should not deprive animals of their right not tosuffer.