Legislators in Brussels, which is culturally nowhere near Blackpool, have stated that the New Working Directive also applies to donkeys, as well as to dancing bears and organ grinders' monkeys.
Donkeys, the transport of choice for Joseph and Mary and later their son, Jesus, have carried pleasure-seeking children across the sands for donkey's years, but now more so than ever since finding jobs down the coal mine are getting further and fewer between.
Mr. Charles Caroli, chairman of B.A.S.T.A.R.D. (Blackpool Association for Sandcastle Tournaments And Riding Donkeys) said, "Those loony Europeans have gone too far this time! They've got their heads up their asses, if you pardon the pun."
He continued, "There are currently over 9,000 donkeys working along the Golden Mile and competition is fierce. Smaller collectives of donkeys rely on flexible working hours to survive in the ever declining market for British beach holidays. Most of these donkeys spend a lot of time "on call" and now this will have to be included as part of their working day. They only recently lost their rights to free dental care; this is just another kick in the teeth, if you pardon the pun."
However, Blackpool Council has already employed Donkey Wardens to oversee compliance to the new ruling. "We will be doing unannounced checks to ensure the donkeys are not missing out on their employment rights," said local councillor, Mrs. Annie Seed-Rock. "Minor offences will incur 3 points and a £60 fine, although donkeys who continually flout the law will have their riding licences revoked."
"A by-law that has been around for donkey's years, if you pardon the pun, already allows donkeys every Friday off, which is more than I get," she whinged. "They'll be able to spend that time down on the beach with their families, paddling and enjoying the bracing sea air."
Mr. Ed, who had a hit TV series in the 1950's until his addiction to sugar lumps led to the show being axed, was unavailable for comment. "He's busy getting his oats," said a sanctuary volunteer.