For the last six years the Donkey Welfare Symposium (DWS) has been a major activity of Rural Veterinary Experience Teaching and Service (RVETS), trying to fill a gap in knowledge and education about donkeys, one of the most exploited and misunderstood of all domestic animals. The veterinary practitioners, international aid workers, and even donkey owners in the USA are lacking in basic information on donkey welfare and biology. Our goal is to develop and transmit science based information on donkeys and mules, to improve their status and health. To do this the DWS brings speakers, the leaders in their respective fields, from around the world to give lectures and demonstrations, and to network on future research and programs. In past years we have had animal scientists, veterinarians, behaviorists, farriers, archaeologists, and rescuers from some fifteen countries participate. Many of our attendees tell us that the DWS is one of the best and most practical meetings they have ever attended, and it has spawned a community of donkey enthusiasts and guardians that communicate regularly throughout the year.