Donkeys are under threat worldwide

Wild donkeys up for adoption in Hawaii. (Eugene Tanner/The Humane Society of the United States via AP)
Wild donkeys up for adoption in Hawaii. (Eugene Tanner/The Humane Society of the United States via AP)

Originally published by Horse & Man. Go there now »

By Cat Purdy | July 30, 2017

A donkey holocaust is under way around the world. The carnage began in China and now extends to nearly every continent on Earth.

The sought-after ingredient is called donkey hide gelatin, or ejiao (e-gee-ow) in Chinese. Made by boiling the hides of slaughtered donkeys, the resulting gelatin is used in a variety of products – facial creams, powders, and snacks. The largest percentage of these products are sold in China, but many can also be found on Amazon and Ebay.

Like bear bile, donkey hide gelatin has its origins in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and its use goes back thousands of years. Demand for the product has exploded due to an expanding middle class in China and state-sponsored advertising that promises benefits ranging from anti-aging to virility.

The use of animal products in TCM has a foothold in Chinese culture, but the scale of slaughter in this case is unprecedented. As China is running low on donkeys, it is reaching outside its own borders to meet the demand of 4 to 10 million donkey hides a year. The worldwide population of donkeys was estimated to be about 40 million some years ago. Obviously, this level of slaughter could result in near-extinction for donkeys in a matter of years.

Hides are being sourced from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and South and Central America, threatening not only donkey populations in those countries but the local people who still depend on them. Some countries see this as an economic opportunity and have set up slaughterhouses to supply hides. Australia is considering exports.

At present, five countries have resorted to banning the export of donkey hides — Niger, Burkina Faso, Pakistan, Mali and Senegal. Black markets are still at work even in these countries, however. In Niger, for example, 65,000 donkeys a year are slaughtered illegally. In addition, the price of a donkey there has risen from $34 to $147, too high for most of the local people who need donkeys to work and to live.

The NSPCA (National Council of SPCAs Africa) said, “Over and above the horrendous cruelty to the donkeys, it is noted that individuals and communities are suffering, as their livelihoods and often their only means of transportation are being taken from them.” Theft and barbaric slaughter methods are on the rise. Donkeys have been skinned alive, bludgeoned to death, and transported for long distances without food, water or rest.

America’s so-called “excess” horses and donkeys currently go to Mexico for slaughter. In all likelihood, the number of donkeys sent to that country will increase, whether by legal or nefarious means, as Mexico is actively trading with China. Continue reading »

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Historically, China has had a long and horrible reputation concerning animal rights. The Western world does not have a lot to brag about in that regard itself, however it is reducing its use of animal products largely in part due to the increase in popularity of veganism and vegetarianism. In the reverse, the Chinese appear to be rapidly increasing in their cruel and deadly use of animals.

 

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