The Force of the Horse

Feel Good Sunday: Home Sweet Home for Donkey Survivors of the Skin Trade

By the

The National Council of SPCAs in South Africa is delighted to report a positive, uplifting and heart-warming outcome relating to donkeys rescued from the horrific trade in their skins.

We report that five donkeys have arrived at a beautiful property in Bethlehem in the Free State where they will live out the rest of their lives. The donkeys were adopted according to the standard procedure, which involves a formal application to adopt an animal, including demonstrating that one is able to afford private veterinary fees and committing to looking after the animal for the rest of its natural life.

A further 14 donkeys will travel shortly to a new home. Their adoptions have been approved as all the required administrative procedures have been undertaken.

These donkeys were rescued in the Sani area in early 2017. They were initially cared for at the Sani SPCA, but since their operation is not far from the Lesotho border post, it was feared that the donkeys might be stolen. Their welfare and safety were top priorities, so a decision was taken to move the donkeys to other SPCAs.

The journey to their temporary homes started early on the morning of 24 February 2017, when they were safely loaded into trucks and their journey to the Benoni SPCA and the Kloof and Highway SPCA began. No issues were encountered. Several stops were made en route to Johannesburg to provide water and facilitate checks by our inspectors and veterinarian.

The end of the story is a very uplifting one not only for the donkeys, but for all the dedicated staff involved who worked tirelessly to ensure their safety and to secure their future.

Donkey hide contains a gelatine which is claimed to carry medicinal properties. The gelatine is a key ingredient in China’s ejiao industry, which produces tablets, tonics and a sweet syrup. Donkeys from all over the world are slaughtered, often illegally after being stolen, and their hides exported to China to fuel demand for ejiao.

The “donkey skin trade” continues, but so do our efforts to monitor situations, respond to information received and to take whatever steps may be appropriate when necessary. Criminal charges have been laid in several instances, cases brought before the Courts and convictions obtained. The National Council of SPCAs commits to combatting the scourge of the donkey skin trade tirelessly and steadfastly.

12 replies »

  1. Yes, good to hear that there is refuge for them. It is shocking to me how humans feel entitled to sacrifice a life for something so insignificant as this product! I’d like to ask people who use it why they feel they should have it – this and many other things that people take animal life for.


  2. Blessings to these angels on earth and to those who made the rescue possible. This skin trade is a growing horror that must be stopped.


  3. Good news from a part of the world where so many horrific stories are occurring. The donkey skin trade is a scourge that will wipe out the world’s population of donkeys. Save every donkey you can. Soon, there will be very few left if we cannot curb this trade. The disappearance of our own donkeys is happening here daily. Each donkey that crosses the border will be a victim of this trade. We cannot allow this to happen. We can save them. We must.


  4. Looks as though those same entities are still skulking around…the Horse slaughter plan didn’t work. This must be Plan B

    The Wild Horse Crisis Out West Continues

    Celebrities are fighting it, deals are being brokered, and two proposals are sitting in Congress to end it. So why are horses still being slaughtered in droves?
    OCT 24, 2013

    But critics of horse roundups contend they are a profit-driven enterprise sanctioned by the federal government and driven by business interests like cattle ranching and extractive industries that want to clear land for development.

    “The only way to get at those resources is to get rid of the horses,” said Navajo activist Leland Grass. He has been trying to stop roundups of horses, which are often bound for Mexican slaughterhouses, on the Navajo reservation.

    But critics say the data the policy is based on comes from an environmental impact study commissioned by Peabody Energy in 2008 as part of the permitting process to expand a coal mine it operates on Navajo land. The coal mine fuels the Navajo Generating Station power plant, which is majority owned by the U.S. Interior Department. Interior oversees the BLM, the agency responsible for managing wild horses, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), which issues grazing permits on the reservation and contracts with horse buyers, including “kill buyers,” who buy horses bound for slaughterhouses.

    Asked whether that study informed the horse policy, Zah said, “It’s definitely part of it.”

    Peabody Coal did not return phone calls seeking comment.


  5. Yay for the donkeys! And a very sincere thank you to each & every wonderful human being that helps to rescue animals. Not only do you all deserve the title of “Hero”, you are also Angels!


  6. I am thrilled that these wonderful fur babies have been saved. I had no idea that donkeys were being used for their gelatin. I was aware that donkey meat had shown up mixed with beef in England and Scotland. I lived in England for sometime and never saw any donkeys and I wondered where the donkey meat came from. I now think it was shipped from China. Additionally I recently was made aware that much of the “leather” coats, purses, shoes etc. sold in stores in the United States is dog skin, I am now wondering how much of it is horse and donkey skin as well my guess is none of it is cow hide! Do not buy these items from China. I would be suspicious of any meat products or products containing meat derivatives as well! Spread the word. It will slow if not stop the killing of donkeys, if they cannot sell the products for export.


  7. This is a new one to me and it is also disgusting! It seems no animal is safe anymore! Elephants are being killed for their ivory. Rhino’s for their horns. Horses are being shipped from the US to Canada and Mexico to be slaughtered for their meat! In some countries dogs and cats are slaughtered for their meat! Now it is donkey’s for their hides! This world is full of greed and stupidity! Then there is the abuse and neglect of so many other animals! It never ends! At least some of the donkeys are being rescued before the fall into the wrong hands!!!


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