Donkey being carried out of compassion, not self-preservation

30 April 2021
What was claimed

That the donkey in an image was being carried to prevent it causing harm by exploding landmines.

Our verdict

The donkey was actually being carried out of compassion, and later became a mascot for the French Foreign Legion.

An image of a person in military uniform carrying a donkey has been widely shared on Facebook. The caption with the image reads: “Soldier carrying donkey through a minefield. If the donkey was free to wander as it pleased, it would likely detonate a charge and kill everyone. During difficult times, the jackasses need to be kept from doing as they please, so they don’t put everybody in danger”.

Other posts have claimed that the picture was taken during the second world war.

In fact, this photograph was taken in Algeria in 1958. It appeared in several newspapers at the time, including on the front page of the Daily Mirror.

The newspaper reported that a French Foreign Legionnaire (some sources say it was an Algerian auxiliary to the 13th demi-brigade) had rescued the donkey after finding it abandoned by its mother, and carried it to safety because it was too weak to keep up. A follow-up article a year later says that the donkey was adopted as a mascot by the soldiers and named “Bambi”.

The same image has been fact checked by Snopes and USA Today.

None of the reports say that there were landmines in the field.

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as missing context because the image actually shows a donkey being carried by the French Foreign Legion out of compassion, not to restrain it in a minefield.

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