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The Big Black Donkey of Berry

 The existence of the Big Black Donkey of Berry has been appreciated for several centuries, shown by their significance in names of places and hamlets.
This donkey is mainly a draught animal for the "berrichon" (from Berry) farmers.
 Little by little, the donkey replaced man for the
haulage of barges on various canals including the Berry canal. The presence of the donkey seems to be very important during the 1940s and 1950s .
Jacques Tati's film "Jour de Fête", created in the 60s, shows a couple of donkeys in several scenes, which confirms its importance in that era.
Thanks to the folk group, "Les Thiaulins of Lignieres", Lignieres has become the historic birthplace of the Big Black Donkey . The first donkey fair took place in 1986 and the breed was officially recognised in 1994 . The donkey fair takes place every year the Monday of Whitsun in Lignieres 

French association of the Big Black Donkey of Berry

 It all began in Lignieres. The Thiaulins of Lignieres (an association which seeks to perpetuate traditions in Berry) began to get worried about the scarcity of donkeys .According to the older generation, the donkeys used to be numerous. In 1986, during the yearly festival, the Thiaulins de Lignieres organised a donkey rally with horse dealers of the neighbouring districts: it was the birth of  the Donkey and Mule fair . A group of stockbreeders and fans got together in order to write a "standard" text on the Big Black Donkey as it was found in the fairs according to the older generation and documents from the beginning of the century . That was when the French association was created to develop its breeding and above all, keep the studbook. Since 1993, National Stud Farms have taken an active part in working-out the rules of the studbook and the inscription of the animals. The breed was officially recognised in 1994. It had taken 8 years to get this special breed recognised .

Extension:
According to a survey, the 4 departments of Cher, Indre, Allier and Nievre constitute the main group of donkey habitats in France representing 40% of the total number (there are 400 000 donkeys in France) .
Nowadays, 60% of donkeys registered in the studbook of the Big Black Donkey are located in the south of Berry .

Safeguard actions:
360 donkeys are registered in the studbook . In 1998, 21 asses were allowed to be registered. Nevertheless, stockbreeders must pay particular attention to inbreeding problems . The French Association of the Big Black Donkey with the National Stud-Farms suggest the stockbreeders follow the rules in order to develop the breed .

Office de Tourisme
du canton de Lignières

32, grande rue - 18160 LIGNIÈRES
Tél. 02 48 60 20 41