Horse Health

Decimation of the Donkeys: How 4 MILLION Animals are Slaughtered every Year to make Chinese ‘Miracle’ Youth Serum

By George Knowles In Dong’e, China and Ian Gallagher In London For The Mail On Sunday

“My deepest apologies for sharing this disturbing article just out of the gate at the beginning of the week but it is real, it is happening and it is cruel beyond all possible comprehension.  So if the bloody truth of human depravity turns your stomach and darkens your soul then I highly recommend that you do not proceed and instead, hit delete on this tab in your browser and please take away my apology.

But for the rest of us, be prepared to expose yourself to the reality of the cruelty being rained down upon one of the quietest, calmest and least assuming of all equines, the modest donkey.  In a third world country, you are considered to be wealthy to have a donkey live on your little farm as the lowly donkey is a car, pickup, dump-truck and tractor all rolled into one.  The thought of murdering the little beast of burden, not for food but for a cosmetic, is unimaginable.  But it is happening and the article below gives you the who, why, where and what is going on.  Please read on with caution and be advised that the bulk of the gruesome photos being published on the internet are not present here on SFTHH, the link at the bottom of the article will take you to that little part of hell.” ~ R.T.

  • Young donkeys are bred and slaughtered for factories in China
  • Ejiao is a supposedly youth-preserving gelatin found in their skin
  • Four million donkeys are killed each year to meet demand for the serum 
  • There is no medical evidence to support the belief in its effectiveness.

Destined for SlaughterStretching far into the distance, thousands of young donkeys contentedly graze on a farm in northern China. 

They are days away from slaughter – having been bred solely for ejiao, a supposedly youth-preserving gelatin found in their skin.

Every week, thousands more donkey hides arrive here in Dong’e, northern China – epicentre of an appalling multi-billion-pound industry built on vanity and superstition – from all over the world.

The boss of one factory boasted that he sold £140 million of ejiao products last year.

‘Our only concern is that one day soon there won’t be any more donkeys left to kill,’ he said. Tragically, he wasn’t exaggerating. For centuries seen as symbols of peace and humility, donkeys are being massacred across the world with industrial callousness.

A Mail on Sunday investigation can reveal:

  • Four million donkeys are killed each year to meet demand for ejiao;
  • China’s newly monied middle classes believe claims that it makes ‘men virile and women beautiful’;
  • The trade is having a devastating impact in Africa where donkeys are vital to livelihoods;
  • The head of a British charity warned of imminent factory farming of donkeys on a massive scale;
  • Chinese scientists are developing super-breeds of donkeys that grow bigger faster.

Ten thousand men and women are employed at the factories in Dong’e, where skins are boiled and liquefied to make health snacks, powders and face creams that Chinese people believe are the key to long life and lasting beauty. There is no medical evidence to support this belief.

A Mail on Sunday investigation found the industry, enthusiastically promoted by its government, has halved China’s donkey population. But as the numbers dwindle, so the trade now threatens donkeys across every continent.

Donkeys no older than three are being culled in their millions in Africa, Asia, South America and the Middle East and their hides exported to feed China’s insatiable appetite for ejiao.

Mike Baker chief executive of the Devon-based Donkey Sanctuary, which is closely monitoring the situation, said: ‘Suddenly we’re seeing an incredible demand. In Africa alone, the numbers could run into millions.

‘As an example, Burkina Faso, which has banned the trade, 65,000 a year are still being killed illegally.’

The value of a donkey has rocketed from £50 a decade ago to £250 today as Chinese customers pay up to £200 a month for ejiao.

As well as preserving youth, it is said to improve circulation and sex drive and makes workers indefatigable.

In sickening scenes in Dong’e, where more than 100 factories produce ejiao, we saw hundreds of donkey skins from South Africa being unloaded from a lorry by forklift truck and a donkey casually butchered on a street corner as locals ambled by.

China’s biggest ejiao factory – Shandong Dong’e Ejiao (DEEJ), which processes a million donkey hides a year, is negotiating to breed and kill donkeys in Australia and has set up a farm on the outskirts of Dong’e with 10,000 animals to breed, kill and skin.

The craze is driven by a potent mix of snobbery, superstition and state propaganda. A traditional medicine for nearly 2,000 years, ejiao was once made exclusively for Imperial China’s royal families and, later, Chairman Mao and the Communist elite.

Today, China’s burgeoning middle classes are clamouring for ejiao, which is officially promoted under President Xi Jinping’s nationalistic policy to develop the country’s traditional medicine market. Ejiao sales went into overdrive in China following a national TV advertising campaign promoting it in 2010.

The mythology surrounding the elixir dictates that the donkey skins can only be boiled during the winter months, with ejiao made during the three-day Chinese Winter Solstice the most valued with a 250g (8.8oz) slab made then fetching £2,560.

A saleswoman told us: ‘When a man takes ejiao, he will be strong and virile and have a long life. When a woman takes ejiao, she will keep her youth and become as beautiful as a princess.’

A MoS reporter joined a group of ejiao sellers on a visit to the factory from cities around China. They were told by a company official showing them the workshops: ‘If you sell ejiao to farmers in the countryside, they can work all day without getting tired.

‘We give two boxes a month to each of our workers and it makes them work faster all day long.’

At the company’s donkey farm on the outskirts of Dong’e, different species of young donkeys are kept in rows of pens. They rush to the sides of the pens to be stroked and nuzzled when anyone walks by. Here, workers told us, animal scientists are experimenting to create a new breed of donkey that grows bigger and faster to provide skins at a young age.

‘This is first of his kind,’ one worker said, showing us a sturdy, thickset black donkey he said was only a year old. Across the road from the DEEJ factory, the company president, Zhang Tengzhi, 42, invited us into his office, where he proudly handed out individually packaged square-shaped cereal bars containing ejiao mixed with dates and nuts.

‘If you take one of these every day, you will never get a cold,’ he said. ‘We give it to our workers every day and they are always full of energy and never get ill.’

Mr Zhang’s factory – which currently processes 3,000 tons of hides a year – is doubling its size and capacity to try to keep up with demand but he admitted it was struggling to source enough donkeys. ‘There are very few donkeys left in China now so we are now getting our hides from all over the world,’ he said. ‘People in China today are getting richer and living longer and they need more traditional tonics to prolong life and health.’

Tanzania is one country recently targeted by China. Only last week, 24 carcasses were found in a remote bush forest. They had been injected with poison before they were skinned. All the animals were owned by Maasai subsistence farmers who depend on them to survive.

‘We believe criminals killed these animals by injecting them with a drug,’ said Johnson Lyimo, director of the Meru Animal Welfare Organisation in Arusha, Tanzania.

‘It is very difficult to catch those responsible because they operate in such rural areas. To find these donkeys, my team and I had to drive 30 miles out into the bush and then walk another five miles to the forest where the slaughter was done.

‘We know they are injecting them, because there is no sign of fatal wounds. They have cut only near the hooves for skinning.

‘But we don’t know the chemical they are injecting. All we can say is it must be very dangerous because no hyena, no kind of bird – not even an insect – is feeding on the meat they left behind. The skins will have been exported to China.’

He said that despite their price increasing drastically, Maasai people did not sell them to the slaughter gangs. ‘The communities know the importance of donkeys to their families,’ he said. ‘They are everything – especially for their women. They provide the women’s transport.

‘Families will now have to walk many miles to market and their children will not manage to get to school because they will need to walk to fetch water to help their parents.’

He said MAWO had received funds from the Donkey Sanctuary in Devon to build ten community shelters where the Maasai could keep animals safe at night. ‘This is a very big challenge for the local people. They cannot afford to buy replacement donkeys because the Chinese trade has pushed the price so high.’

Countries across Africa have seen an exponential increase in the export of donkey hides. In Egypt, the price of donkeys has risen from £17 to £170, according to research by the Donkey Sanctuary. And in South Africa, the scale of the problem has emerged only in recent months. Nadia Saunderson, outreach officer for the Highveld Horse Care Unit near Johannesburg, said demand for ejiao in China had triggered ‘a huge explosion in illegal slaughter’.

‘In one recent incident in the Free State, we were tipped off by a registered abattoir,’ she said. ‘Our inspectors went to a location out in the bush and rescued 56 emaciated donkeys. They were in the process being cruelly slaughtered. Those responsible are unquestionably serving the Chinese medicine business. They are interested only in the skins.’

Ms Saunderson compared the trade to the poaching of rhino horns and abalone – a protected sea snail once prolific in South African waters. ‘We believe donkey skins may even be smuggled out of the country in the same consignments as abalone,’ she said. ‘It is a massive business. The slaughter of donkeys is having the same effect on their population in rural African communities as the poaching of rhino horn on rhinos.’

BARF ALERT: This is Ugly!

27 replies »

  1. They are a frikin sick group of people. Talk about uneducated!! When is this all going to end? When God reigns down in us and says enough is enough! More earth quakes and tidle was to hit various shores. And in our own country we have elected the Son of Satsn. Where is the World Humane Society? We can’t even save our own horses and other equines from death and inhumane treatment. Are we no better than they are? Just a sick frickin World today!


  2. At least 15 of our wild burros captured at Twin Peaks HMA were sold by BLM to Tom Davis of Colorado.
    BLM main “sales manager” was Sally Spencer.
    BLM Litchfield facility manager was Doug Satica.

    Freezemark Signalment Capture Date Location Sale Date Buyer State
    00222240 BF1AAAAAD 09/12/10 (CAF52) Litchfield 6/7/2011 CO
    00222242 BF1AAAAAD 09/12/10 (CAF52) Litchfield 6/7/2011 CO
    00222253 BF1AAAAAD 09/16/10 (CAF52) Litchfield 6/7/2011 CO
    94222205 BF1AAAAAD 09/10/10 (CAF52) Litchfield 6/7/2011 CO
    99222280 BF1AAAABD 09/12/10 (CAF52) Litchfield 6/7/2011 CO
    96222228 BF1HHHHAG 09/10/10 (CAF52) Litchfield 6/7/2011 CO
    94222235 BF2AAAAAG 09/16/10 (CAF52) Litchfield 6/7/2011 CO
    00222129 BG1AAAAAD 09/10/10 (CAF52) Litchfield 6/7/2011 CO
    90222149 BM1AAAAAD 09/12/10 (CAF52) Litchfield 6/7/2011 CO
    97222139 BM1AAAAAD 09/12/10 (CAF52) Litchfield 6/7/2011 CO
    97222152 BM1AAAAAD 09/09/10 (CAF52) Litchfield 6/7/2011 CO
    98222150 BM1AAAAAD 09/12/10 (CAF52) Litchfield 6/7/2011 CO
    88222167 BM1AAAAAR 09/10/10 (CAF52) Litchfield 6/7/2011 CO
    00222181 BM1AAAAKR 09/12/10 (CAF52) Litchfield 6/7/2011 CO
    94222124 BM1AAAAKR 09/10/10 (CAF52) Litchfield 6/7/2011 CO


  3. Rift Valley, Kenya – A $3,000,000 slaughterhouse has just opened in Kenya, a slaughterhouse dedicated and purpose-built to slaughter up to 100 donkeys a day. The meat will be exported to China, where demand is high for the burro bites. As the donkeys are dragged by a chain around their neck into the kill chute, their last thoughts are of a person with a captive bolt gun shooting them in the head.

    “The way we do them is no different that of the cattle. We as public health officers have to inspect them when they arrive and are alive to ascertain they do not have any disease, we usher them in and then the killing starts every morning,” Jonathan Tanui, a health officer, told reporters.


  4. All for a stupid youth serum that doesn’t even work. Sorry, there is no youth serum. People age, and there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s a valid part of the human life cycle. Sacrificial virgin’s blood won’t keep you young, that’s what it reminds me of, vampire stories.


  5. Does China have a human underpopulation problem? Do men need to be even more virile, and women more beautiful to attract each other to reproduce? Why do donkeys have to die to help people procreate, when it seems alcohol will do just fine for most societies?

    I hope some testing is done to determine what poisons have been released into the donkeys and their environment as the article mentions NOTHING is eating the carcasses. Why do we have to relearn the same mistakes over and over and over and over and over and over…..


    • Well, here again, karma will have the last laugh. The women will still wrinkle like an old leaf, the men will still be limp. No matter what they do, time will march on.


      • You know, there’s been so much talk of sexism and misogyny during this election cycle. The beauty and fashion industry is problem one of the most sexist and misogynist of all! Creating and making money from women’s insecurities about impossible to achieve ideals. That and the medical industry creating the idea that menopause is an illness instead of a natural part of a woman’s life. Plus, menopause is a temporary phase! If people are so intent on correcting these nonexistent maladies, there are lots of plant-based and synthesized alternatives. There is no need to sacrifice a poor animal’s life for something as shallow and superficial as beauty and sexuality – it’s not even life threatening! But it is immoral.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ida, now that we will have a supermodel as a first lady, I wonder if she will take up the cause of cruelty-free beauty products? Might be worth at least asking her. She’s likely to have more success with that than with an anti-bullying internet effort.


  6. First donkey abattoir in Africa sparks outrage
    By Line Elise Svanevik

    Muslim leader Ali Mohammed told the paper donkey meat was against Islamic teachings, while Naivasha Butchery Owners’ Association chairman Douglas Ng’ang’a told the Kenya Standard: “The move will end up tarnishing the name of Naivasha town and affecting our businesses and we are totally opposed to this.”

    Kenya is due to host Africa’s very first donkey slaughterhouse, as a response to an ever-growing Chinese demand for donkey meat.
    The slaughterhouse has been granted approval in Nakaru County’s market town Naivasha and will aim to slaughter between 70-100 donkeys per day.
    Proprietor John Ngonjo Kariuki told the Kenya Standard: “I have been to China where there is a high demand and market for donkey meat and this slaughterhouse will take care of that.”
    According to Kariuki, the slaughter of donkeys has been legalised by the government for some years, but the industry had been damaged by unscrupulous traders.
    However, the Kenya Standard also reported that the move had sparked outrage from traders, donkey owners and religious leaders in the area.
    Muslim leader Ali Mohammed told the paper donkey meat was against Islamic teachings, while Naivasha Butchery Owners’ Association chairman Douglas Ng’ang’a told the Kenya Standard: “The move will end up tarnishing the name of Naivasha town and affecting our businesses and we are totally opposed to this.”


  7. I am so tired of some humans sometimes. A brief rant follows, so if the shoe fits wear it.

    Listen. You are not going to be virile all your life, nor are you going to remain forever youthful. It just doesn’t work that way. You get old, and you don’t want sex as much if at all. N
    It is absurd to think a component extracted from another species is going to change this, so stop being stupid.

    I am finished. Thank you


    • Good rant!
      All true – but look at rhino horn – tiger bones – shark fins, to name a few. The question is: exactly WHY is it that only animals hold the answer to eternal youth & virility? Seems far too many human’s need to “entertain” & “medicate” themselves too often requires an animal to be abused or killed! Something wrong with this picture? I think so.


    • Maybe a new marketing approach is in order here. If you use these products you will turn into a JACKASS for all the world to see! Sorta like Pinocchio, only with ears. Maybe Lady Gaga could create a costume and… well you can imagine the rest.


  8. Pass this petition to as many people and organizations as you have on your mailing lists. It needs as many signatures as possible. We have to start where we are…and that’s HERE


    Dear Horse Lovers and Advocates,

    My name is Susan Wagner. I am the president of Equine Advocates, the national non-profit equine protection organization I founded in 1996. I rescued my first horse from slaughter in 1994 and that event completely changed the direction of my life.
    I am reaching out to you to for your help to end horse slaughter by directly appealing to President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden to ban it entirely before they leave office as part of their legacy. It is not only critical, but extremely urgent to accomplish this before Donald Trump takes office on 1/20/17. We are asking for a complete ban on horse slaughter meaning that no equine from the U.S. could be slaughtered in this country or transported live across our borders into Mexico or Canada or to any other country for the purpose of slaughter.


  9. 4 million donkeys a year. To put this into perspective, the domestic population of donkeys in the USA is between 250,000 and 400,000. They would wipe out every donkey in the USA in 2 months. This is a crisis. The Chinese are sending agents all over the world to procure donkeys. Mammoth owners have been contacted about purchase of their donkeys for breeding in China. They are trying to engineer a new breed that grows faster and can be “harvested” younger. Our wild burros are certainly at risk. Watch how quickly Australia plummets to a zero population of donkeys now that they have agreed to let China have them. Donkeys are incredible animals who have helped humankind for thousands of years. This breaks my heart. Ejiao is also sold on ebay.


  10. “There comes a time when you look into the mirror and you realize that what you see is all that you will ever be. And then you accept it. Or you kill yourself. Or you stop looking in mirrors.”
    ― Tennessee Williams

    In the Bible, “vanity” means that something is meaningless. It has no value, and therefore, it is a waste of time to chase after this item. Vanity is a word found throughout the Bible, which indicates its importance to the lessons being taught.

    Horrifying & Heartbreaking…so many innocent souls butchered for something so meaningless…the chase of youth & the almighty dollar…


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