Donkey basketball fundraiser criticized for animal cruelty

Donkey basketball is an undeniably dangerous practice for the animals, who bear the weight of heavy participants, often slip on gymnasium floors, and can suffer a variety of injuries.


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WYALUSING, PENNSYLVANIA — The game of donkey basketball was developed in the 1930s, and is still being played in school gymnasiums across America. A high school located in northeastern Pennsylvania has plans of hosting a match for an annual fundraiser, but a group of concerned citizens is now desperately trying to put a stop to it in their community.

Donkey basketball is played with five humans players on each team, with four participants on each team riding donkeys to traverse the court. The center forward for each team patrols the paint without the aid of a donkey. The object of the game is to score the basket as you normally would, while riding a donkey.

An average donkey can carry roughly 100 lbs on its back. With participants ages 16 and up, most exceed that weight, making the game a stressful exercise for the donkey. The game is played on a standard indoor basketball court in high school gymnasiums, but donkey hooves aren’t designed for running around on such slick surfaces. As a result, the donkeys often slip and fall. Being tethered or roped to their riders, the donkeys are constantly in danger of suffering a variety of stress-related injuries.

By the end of the match, the money raised for whatever fundraiser the game was played for is split between the hosting school, and the donkey ball company. The losers, of course, are unquestionably the donkeys.

A donkey basketball game is set to be played at the Wyalusing Valley Junior-Senior High School on April 6 in Pennsylvania. A petition urging state representatives and school board officials to cancel the event, as well as a statewide ban of the sport altogether, is underway.
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