From the Land Down Under: “China Wants Our Donkeys Dead or Alive!”

OpEd by Andrea Jenkins – Donkeys of Australia

Over the past few months I have read many articles about donkeys. There was one article I read a couple of weeks ago though that really hit a nerve.

The article included a stunning picture of a donkey, gazing out from his paddock. The barb wire that cut across in front of him indicated that he stood just behind a fence. It led me to imagine a stranger stopping road side with camera in hand, readying the exposure for the autumn sunlight and the yellow daisies. He waits, aware that the donkey has his ears pricked and stands attentive to this new energy invading his home. Curious, this gentle, wise creature meanders over to say hello. The stranger shoots and then is gone, taking a moment in time with him to use as he wishes.

I don’t know this donkey personally. Perhaps he is your donkey? Or someone you know? I imagine other photos he stands in, cuddled by the grandkids, lazing in the sun, a beloved family member that sits in frames on the mantelpiece for the world to see.

I’d love to own this donkey, yet I’m happy I don’t. I don’t think I could bare it. The stranger has not taken this particular photo to show how cherished and adored this donkey is. Mortified, I read the caption: good enough to export.

Yes, sadly, this donkey has become the latest face for donkey export to China. He is pitted next to the words of Barnaby Joyce as a creature with a price tag, an economic commodity, an edible product worthy of export. The nerve it struck was raw. It rocked me to my core. How can we be asked to look at this magnificent creature and see it as a dead product being shovelled into the mouths of those that search for a miracle elixir for eternal youth and vitality?

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. Like I said, I’ve read many articles about donkeys over the past few months. In fact, I’ve read, watched, spoken on the phone and data analysed the horrors the ‘insatiable’ appetite for Ejiao brings crashing to our shores.

It’s been extremely challenging for me to witness the creature I love more than anything get decimated in such a brutal way, but I feel I must walk with them through this struggle as they have walked with us through constant struggles throughout time. I must stand with them now and help their voices be heard. It is with their characteristic traits of love, compassion and humility that I proceed to further my education and, hopefully, the education of others, with regard to the issues facing Australian donkeys.

I am sure many of you have read the horrors that are linked with the donkey skin trade. I’m sure you have read that what is, essentially, donkey poaching, has become a regular occurrence in some parts of Africa. I’m sure you have read about the exorbitant prices donkeys are now selling for and the fact that those living in rural villages can no longer afford to replace their donkeys, leaving them without a means to collect their water or send their children to school. I’m sure you’ve heard of the donkey slaughter houses, the string of animal welfare concerns and the shocking statistics that draw many to believe our beloved donkeys are vanishing from this world. I am not sure, however, that you have been able to find much information on the current Australian situation and what it means for Australian donkeys.

So here I am, writing this article for you. It is my aim in writing that I am able to summarise what I have learned, to date, on Ejiao and how this skin trade is expected to affect our Australian donkeys . I am by no means claiming to be an expert on the matter. I am simply one girl who uses Google and the telephone and has been willing to dive into the hay stack, so to speak, and try and find some answers. This brings me to the second aim in writing this article. It is also a desperate cry for help. It is my wish that we may come up with a structure for research and action together as we venture forward with, and for, our beloved donkeys. What I write now details the journey Ejiao has taken me on so far.

When I first heard whispers that China wanted our donkeys, I wrapped myself in the safety net I, and many others, naively believed we had. It seemed that we did not have the numbers of donkeys required to make the idea of donkey export viable. That teamed with the vast and unforgiving landmass the donkeys inhabited seemed to make the cost too much for a return that was far too small. It still seemed that culling was the preferred method of eradication.

Yet, as time passed, donkey populations in China—and globally—started to dwindle, demand for Ejiao skyrocketed, pressure on global markets to supply the increase in demand grew exponentially and the viability of exporting donkeys to China suddenly changed as the price tag kept rising. Pressured with ongoing enquiries the Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry and Resources (NTDPIR) compiled a report into the potential of donkey farming in the Northern Territory (September 2016).

Again, even though the report ultimately found that donkey farming was viable, either as a stand- alone venture or complimentary to the cattle industry, I thought we had a safety net. The safety net seemed to be that there was no Tier 2 processing facility and no operational export protocols to China. Reading that the capital outlay required for such a facility would be somewhere between the $50-$100 million mark and knowing there were no operational protocols for export to China made it sound, again, that the donkeys were to stay on Australian shores.

Yet, as I researched further and talked to more people on the phone I began to understand the saying ‘where there’s a will there’s a way’ really does apply to the situation here. Everywhere I turned looking for the next piece of the puzzle I got offered a piece that didn’t fit. I found that when I stopped allowing myself to get distracted by the technical jargon of protocols I, instead, found a big picture with most of the puzzle already in place. Like I say, I am only one girl and I am fully aware that I have more research to go, yet this is how I have come to see the big picture so far.

China wants our donkeys. The Australian agribusiness sector wants to expand export opportunities and make as much money as possible. Station owners want the feral donkeys gone. Farmers want ways to diversify their stock to get them through tough times. Multi-species abattoirs are being built with heavy Chinese investment. Chinese investment in Australian agribusiness is seen as desirable. Trial kills of donkeys are currently happening. More wild donkeys are already being rounded up. The Coalition Government has recently signed a Joint Statement with China to hugely expand market access for Australia’s red meat and live animal export industries to China. Barnaby Joyce is publicly announcing that Australia will be providing edible donkey skins to China and pushing it as a big, new market. Tariffs on hides and skins exported to China are being eliminated between 1st January 2017 and 1st of January 2022. The price of wild donkeys being rounded up and sold has already drastically increased.

So what does this all mean? Yes, China will be getting our donkeys. There may be a few little things to sort out in terms of protocols but it is happening. No one is standing in the way and stopping things from progressing forward. Most of the information I have read indicates that wild donkeys will be rounded up and breed as livestock for the Ejiao trade. Edible donkey skins will be exported to China. Some of the donkey meat will be sold within Australia as pet meat. Some of the meat will be sold internationally for human consumption. It also seems that, as the export market to China opens up under these new trade agreements, donkeys could potentially be live exported to China as well.

Even as I write that last sentence, my heart breaks a new. Not only will I be living in a country that potentially has no wild donkeys left. Not only will I be living in a country with fields of donkeys tagged and fattened ready for the slaughterhouse truck. I will also be living in a country that makes the conscious choice to send sensitive, emotional, smart, alive creatures on a ship, destined for a place of unfathomable animal cruelty. Do you think you can live in the country I describe? Unfortunately, this is what we are facing.

Of course there are obvious animal welfare concerns as are always evident with creatures subjected to the tortures of live export, yet there are more subtle and insidious concerns at play too. One thing I am concerned about is that wild donkeys are to be rounded up and sold as breeding stock. Will the breeding jennies have any much needed maintenance and care? Will their hooves be trimmed? Will their health be attended to? An ongoing animal welfare issue with the Ejiao trade is the lack of donkey healthcare as it is only the skin that is deemed valuable making money spent on overall health a waste of finances.

Another concern is the distances donkeys will be transported to abattoirs. The multispecies abattoir being built in Charleville will apparently be transporting donkeys from the Northern Territory and perhaps even South Australia. Will these donkeys be given the required rests, food and water? How tightly will they be packed in? If rounded up from the wild and trucked, how are foals and pregnant jennies going to be cared for? How will they be treated as they are rounded up, trucked and, ultimately, slaughtered? As ‘pests’ donkeys are not given the same protective rights as other animals in Australia. I will admit that I don’t know how far their protective rights are striped due to their classification as pests yet it is important to ensure that their welfare is adhered to at all stages of transport and processing.

Yet another concern I have is how will this big, new market be regulated? Can anyone start farming donkeys? How is the government going to monitor who is involved in this trade and how this trade is carried out on a day-to-day basis? As the avenues for export open up, there needs to be regulation on this trade, right from the small, hobby farms to the largest stations in the country, along with any wild stock that are mustered and sent straight to slaughter. Many of the people who are going to be involved are experienced in the needs of cattle and are not educated when it comes to donkeys. It is my desire that, for those joining this industry, they are required to gain further donkey specific education.

Now I write about my biggest concern: that our wild donkeys will become extinct and we will either be left with donkeys stuck in a horrific cycle of breeding and slaughter or with no donkeys left at all. This concern comes from a couple of factors. One factor is that no one knows how many donkeys we have to start with. There has been no accurate headcount of donkeys in Australia ever. Yet those, like Barnaby Joyce, who are pushing donkey skins as the next big industry, claim on a very public platform that Australia has millions of wild donkeys. This is simply not the case. The NTDPIR has a far more realistic estimate of the number of wild donkeys, stating that they believe there are roughly 50 thousand donkeys in the Northern Territory—although this figure is thought to be about ten years old and is not considered reliable. If we don’t know how many donkeys we have in the first place, how can we know if this trade, and the way it is to be carried out, will be sustainable?

Another factor is that, with the current Ejiao demand, upwards of 4 million donkeys are already believed to be slaughtered each year and the global donkey population literally cannot keep up. This is being reported with the dwindling of numbers in different parts of the world. It is believed donkey populations in China have halved, Mexican donkeys are considered endangered and some are predicting that, if things don’t change, the African donkey could be extinct in as little as five years If indeed our donkey population is somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 our donkeys could be wiped out be Ejiao demand in a matter of weeks. Even if farming does occur in the near future, stock numbers will need to be built up and stabilised. This will take time as donkeys have a long gestation period and do not breed well in stressful situations. If export opens up as we expect it could under these new trade agreements and wild donkeys are sent straight to multi-species abattoirs for processing it might not be long before they are all gone.

In conclusion, I would like to ask that we unite in action going forward. I know it might seem too big an issue to tackle or too graphic an issue to engage with. This does not have to be the case. No action towards this cause will be wasted. Everything counts. I know signing petitions may seem pointless but they are not. One petition to help Australian donkeys, that has over 5,000 signatures, has been mentioned in a news articles that details Barnaby Joyce and his new donkey skin trade desires. It is important that we continue to make our voices heard.

Another suggestion for action is to research a small part of the situation here and report it back to the various donkey societies, or to the facebook page I have created. An area for research might be to keep an eye on how many donkeys are being rounded up, record prices of donkeys at auctions and who is buying, figuring out if the abattoirs near you are exporting donkeys, monitor the news for further information etc. If you are happy to engage with media you could look for news reporters and TV hosts that are willing to run a section on Ejiao (in a respectful manner). You could apply pressure on different organisations to get an accurate population count so that we have more reliable information on the sustainability of the skin trade. You could help change the classification of donkeys as ‘pests’ so they are granted more protective rights.

There are so many ways you can help. Even if it means simply sharing your own donkeys with the wider public more and more in an effort to alter common misconceptions associated with donkeys, perpetrated by the Australian media. It is important that more people come to realise how smart, sensitive and loving these creatures are. The more that people connect with the donkeys, the more of a movement we will be able to create to support them through this crisis.

I thank you so much for taking the time to read the article I have put together and I hope it is has been informative. Below, I have added links to information I have collected and the points that have been touched on through this article. I have also attached the ‘Under the Skin’ campaign by the Donkey Sanctuary UK. If you would like to stay updated on the Ejiao trade, please sign up. Lastly, I would like to say feel free to follow my new Facebook page ‘Donkeys of Australia’. I have set it up with the aim of creating an information hub. Thank you once again for reading and I look forward to working with you to ensure a bright and sustainable future for our donkeys.

Links:

Under the Skin https://www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk/under-the-skin

Donkeys of Australia https://www.facebook.com/Donkeys-of-Australia-1088323071303237/

Petitions:

https://www.change.org/p/australian-donkeys-face-being-bludgeoned-to-death-with- sledgehammers-if-live-exported-to-china

https://www.change.org/p/adam-giles-please-don-t-allow-china-to-export-our-australian-wild- donkeys

Barnaby Joyce http://www.news.com.au/finance/business/other-industries/barnaby-joyce-eyes- potential-new-market-exporting-donkey-skins-to-china/news- story/0d2b690a54e020368b939192d97f5526

New Trade Agreements http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/03/24/donkey-meat-beef- agriculture-australia-china-trade-wider-ever

New Trade Agreements http://www.skynews.com.au/news/top-stories/2017/03/24/china-talks- trade–prosperity-with-turnbull.html

Donkey Farming Report https://dpir.nt.gov.au/primary-industry/agricultural-developments/donkey- farming

Multi-Species Abattoir Charleville http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-08/charleville-processing- plant-set-to-open-2017/8004938

AACo Abatoir becomes multi-species abattoir http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-11/aaco- darwin-abattoir-buffalo-slaughter/8012144

Application to export to China under new trade agreements http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04- 07/aust-agricultural-company-applies-access-china-beef-market/8417796

Old article indicating the tone of the media when commenting on donkeys-

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/queensland-to-become-the-ass-end-of-australia- 20090621-csw6.html

AusTrade-Information on Tariffs http://dfat.gov.au/trade/agreements/chafta/fact- sheets/Pages/chafta-opening-new-opportunities-for-australian-products-in-china.aspx

Is Donkey Skin the New Ivory?

by Alixandra Caole Vila as published at Nature World News

African Donkeys are Being Slaughtered to Extinction

While China’s taste for elephant ivories have died down, it seems like their fondness has shifted to Donkey skin this time.

According to the National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty Against Animals (NSPCA), South African donkeys are being slaughtered to extinction for the gelatin found in their skin and their meat.

While the donkey-hide gelatin has no commercial value in Africa, it is a popular ingredient used to create Chinese medicine to treat anemia and menopause-linked ailments. The gelatin, called Ejiao in Chinese, reportedly stops bleeding and strengthens the blood.

“[Ejiao] is quite a popular ingredient in China that people may self-prescribe,” Chinese medicine expert Mazin Al-Khafaji told The Independent. “It’s a hard gel, made from donkey hide, which is then dissolved in hot water or alcohol. It’s also used topically in a cream, for leg ulcers for instance.”

CNN noted that because donkey skin is highly sought-after in China, the donkey population went down from 11 million to six million in the past 20 years. Approximately 80,000 animals had been sold in the first nine months of 2016. While the demand had delivered a valuable stream of foreign currency, it has placed small-scale farmers in a difficult situation.

China File said that because the price of donkeys increased, rural communities who depend on the animals for livelihood are suffering.

Speaking with Science Times, a donkey owner in Mogosani village named Ikgopeleng Tsietsoane shared that currently, the price of a donkey is 2,000 rand. It used to be only 400 rands ($30 or 29 euros).

At present, a number of African countries, including Niger and Burkina Faso, have banned China from buying their donkeys to save the docile beast’s population and the livelihood of locals. However, smuggling still persists in areas where it is considered illegal to do so…(CONTINUED)

http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/37104/20170406/is-donkey-skin-the-new-ivory-african-donkeys-are-being-slaughtered-to-extinction.htm

Marjorie Farabee and Australian donkey advocate Andrea Jenkins discuss slaughter of donkeys in Australia to make Chinese fad drug ejiao, (Wed. 3/8/17) on Wild Horse & Burro Radio

painy

Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us on Wild Horse Wednesdays®, March 8, 2017

5:00 pm PST … 6:00 pm MST … 7:00 pm CST … 8:00 pm EST

Listen Live (HERE!)

You can also listen to the show on your phone by calling (917) 388-4520.

You can call in with questions during the 2nd half hour, by dialing (917) 388-4520, then pressing 1.

This show will be archived so you can listen to it anytime.

Wild donkeys in the Top End of Australia ABC Rural: Matt Brann

Our guests tonight will be Marjorie Farabee, Dir. of Wild Burro Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation and Australian donkey advocate Andrea Jenkins, who is a member of Good Samaritan Donkey Sanctuary, and has been investigating the ejiao issue in Australia.

Donkey skins are used to produce a fad health and beauty tonic sold as a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) called ejiao, otherwise known as Colla corii asini. Millions of donkeys from Asia, Africa and South America are at risk of being stolen and slaughtered for their skins. Some sources report the demand in China alone to be 10 million skins per year.

The global demand for donkey skins is causing mass-scale suffering to donkeys and risking the livelihoods of millions of people who depend on them.

This show will be hosted by R.T. Fitch, Pres. of Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

To contact us: ppj1@hush.com, or call 320-281-0585

TO LISTEN TO ALL ARCHIVED WILD HORSE & BURRO RADIO SHOWS, CLICK HERE. Continue reading

‘Skin Trade’ Donkeys ‘Waiting to Die’ at ‘Horrific’ Markets

by as published on Horse and Hound

“There’s about 700 donkeys coming here to wait to die. There’s no food, there’s no water…”

The ‘horrific’ conditions facing donkeys in markets in Tanzania have been highlighted by welfare groups.

The Donkey Sanctuary’s Alex Mayers and Thomas Kahema, founder of The Tanzanian Animal Welfare Society, recently visited a donkey market in Tanzania believed to be serving the skin trade.

Click Image to View Video

Click Image to View Video

During an emotional video, Mr Mayers described conditions for the donkeys as they waited to die.

“The market is far worse than I expected,” he said.

“There’s about 700 donkeys coming here to wait to die. There’s no food, there’s no water.

There’s very little reaction from the donkeys to the people, they’re very stressed.”

“Lots are showing signs of dehydration and hunger. Everything about these donkeys is really switched off — it’s really hard to see.

“The donkeys are dying every day.”…(CONTINUED)

http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/skin-trade-donkeys-waiting-die-horrendous-markets-613811

Under the Skin: How ejiao threatens the common ass

By Merritt Clifton editor of Animals 24-7

“…donkeys fall into a unique and difficult niche:  that of a species formerly kept almost exclusively in poorer parts of the world as a work animal…”

Click Image to Download Report

Click Image to Download Report

BEIJING––Can demand for a commodity that constitutes only one ten-thousandth of the global market for traditional Chinese medicine really pose what Donkey Rescue World blogger David C. Duncan calls “an existential threat” to barnyard animals as abundant worldwide as donkeys?

This is not about highly endangered tigers,  rhinos,  elephants,  or even pangolins,  all eight species of which were once listed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species as “species of least concern,”  but since July 2014 are all considered “vulnerable” or “endangered” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

This is about the common ass,  domestic animals who until recently were the tenth most abundant species in captivity,  according to United Nations Food & Agricultural Organization data.

Only chickens,  turkeys,  cattle,  pigs,  sheep,  goats,  horses,  dogs and cats (the latter not tracked by the FAO) were believed to be more numerous.

But donkeys fall into a unique and difficult niche:  that of a species formerly kept almost exclusively in poorer parts of the world as a work animal,  abruptly replaced in most uses by motor vehicles,  no longer highly valued for labor,  and therefore suddenly more valuable for hides than alive.

Further,  the demand for the gelatinous substance derived from donkey hides,  ejiao,  comes almost entirely from China,  whose population of 1.4 billion people is so large that even consumption of trivial amounts of ejiao by one person in 10,000 can require the slaughter of millions of donkeys per year.

No wild animal species––indeed,  no animal product,  period––is actually widely used in traditional Chinese medicine,  which is based overwhelmingly on floral and herbal compounds….(CONTINUED)

Read More:  http://www.animals24-7.org/2017/02/26/under-the-skin-how-ejiao-threatens-the-common-ass/

Download Report: https://www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk/under-the-skin/full-report

Marjorie Farabee and David Duncan on world’s donkeys being wiped out for ejiao, a fad Chinese traditional medicine, on Wild Horse & Burro Radio (Wed,. 2/15/17)

painy

Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us on Wild Horse Wednesdays®, Feb. 15, 2017

6:00 pm PST … 7:00 pm MST … 8:00 pm CST … 9:00 pm EST

Listen Live (HERE!)

You can also listen to the show on your phone by calling (917) 388-4520.

You can call in with questions during the 2nd half hour, by dialing (917) 388-4520, then pressing 1.

This show will be archived so you can listen to it anytime.

fd894cda-b220-11e6-b17d-d6b2ebc6f34a_660x385

Workers lay the skins of freshly killed donkeys out to dry in Dong’e, northeast China, where they will later be boiled to produce gelatin sold as a fad health and beauty tonic (Photo: George Knowles)

Our guests tonight will be Marjorie Farabee, Dir. of Wild Burro Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, Equine Mgr. of Todd Mission Ranch (TMR Rescue) & founder of Wild Burro Protection League.and donkey advocate David Duncan (Donkey Rescue World).

Millions of donkeys from Asia, Africa and South America are at risk of being stolen and slaughtered for their skins, which are used to make ejiao.  Some sources report the demand in China alone to be 10 million skins per year. Large numbers of donkeys are being slaughtered in Mexico (sourced from within Mexico and across the border in the USA).

Donkey skins are used to produce a fad health and beauty tonic sold as an unproven traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) called ejiao, otherwise known as colla corii asini.

The global demand for donkey skins is causing mass-scale suffering to donkeys and risking the livelihoods of millions of people who depend on them.

This show will be hosted by Debbie Coffey, V.P. and Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

To contact us: ppj1@hush.com, or call 320-281-0585

TO LISTEN TO ALL ARCHIVED WILD HORSE & BURRO RADIO SHOWS, CLICK HERE.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/marti-oakley/2017/02/16/marjorie-farabee-david-duncan-donkeys-being-wiped-out-to-make-chinese-meds

1/8/17 – Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation

on BLM’s dangerous Radio Collar Study on the Adobe Town wild horses in Wyoming. Listen HERE.

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

People Are Killing Millions Of Donkeys Just For Their Skins

Story by as published on The Dodo

Warning: Graphic Content – What they’re used for is such a waste

Marjorie Farabee, Director of Wild Burro affairs at WHFF, and her good friend Miss Abby ~ photo by Terry Fitch

Marjorie Farabee, Director of Wild Burro affairs at WHFF, and her good friend Miss Abby ~ photo by Terry Fitch

For centuries, in rural cultures across the globe, one animal has been an important part of the family, helping to keep farms and villages running.

Not only do millions of people depend on donkeys for practical purposes — many donkeys are seen more and more as smart and loyal pets.

But this friendship between people and donkeys is increasingly threatened by a growing trade in something you’ve probably never even heard of: “ejiao,” (also known as “colla corii asini” or “donkey hide glue”) a kind of gelatin made from donkey skin — and demand for ejiao is killing literally millions of donkeys per year.

A new report from The Donkey Sanctuary in the U.K. shows just how massive this emerging global trade really is. At least 1.8 million donkey skins are being traded each year — but it could be between 4 million and 10 million. The trade is difficult to track and until now hasn’t been studied at such a large scale.

“Our report reveals the shocking scale of this global trade and how it’s causing a chain of welfare issues for the donkeys at every step, from sourcing to transport and finally to slaughter,” Mike Baker, chief executive of The Donkey Sanctuary, told The Dodo in a statement.

“Ejiao is a medicine with ancient roots and has been promoted as a product worthy of emperors,” the report says, explaining that traditional herbalists in China claim that ejiao can increase libido, slow aging and prevent disease. But ejiao has not been recognized as having medicinal properties by western medicine.

dead-donkeysThis belief means that donkeys are becoming more valuable for their skins, and therefore harder for rural families to afford. Even the loyal donkeys families already have are at risk. It is becoming more common for donkeys to be stolen right out of a family’s yard and slaughtered for their skins.

While exports of donkey skins come from South America and Asia, the largest source is in Africa, where donkeys (many of them stolen) are rounded up in “donkey markets,” where they are often packed together and left without shelter from the hot sun and without food or water, while they await slaughter.

Often, after the skins are removed, the bodies of the donkeys are burned.

“The market is far worse than I expected,” said Alex Mayers, program manager at The Donkey Sanctuary, from a donkey market in Tanzania last week. “There are about 700 donkeys basically coming here to wait to die. There’s no food or water. The donkeys are very stressed. There are lots of signs of dehydration and hunger.”

But there is hope.

Some countries have already taken action and banned exports of donkey skins, making their donkeys much safer. This includes the African countries of Niger and Burkina Faso, and Pakistan, in Asia.

The Donkey Sanctuary is calling for a stop to the trade of donkey skins worldwide, so that the damage already done to donkey populations and the people who depend on them can be assessed.

overview-mapIn particular, we urge other countries affected by this trade to follow the lead taken by Burkina Faso and Niger and ban the slaughter and export of donkeys for their skins,” Suzi Cretney, public relations manager for The Donkey Sanctuary, told The Dodo.

Cretney said that raising public awareness about where ejiao really comes from could help consumers make better choices.

“We are asking countries to follow the lead by Burkina Faso and Niger to end the slaughter and export of donkeys for their skins because it could help thousands, if not millions of donkeys — their welfare, and their real value supporting people’s livelihoods is at risk,” Baker said.

“This has to stop,” Mayers said, standing by a pen packed with donkeys awaiting their fate. “This absolutely just has to stop.”

To get action alerts about how you can help save these donkeys, join the campaign.

Click (HERE) for video and graphic photos!

https://www.thedodo.com/donkey-skin-trade-2230693220.html

Under the Skin – Donkeys at Risk

Source: The Donkey Sanctuary

donkeys-at-risk

Right now, millions of donkeys from Asia, Africa and South America are at risk of being stolen and slaughtered for their skins – the gelatin in the hide being a key ingredient in the prized traditional Chinese medicine called ejiao (e-gee-yow).

A new report by The Donkey Sanctuary reveals the shocking scale of this global demand for donkey skins – a demand that is unsustainable, whilst simultaneously causing mass-scale suffering to donkeys and risking the livelihoods of millions of people who depend on them.

Read here about the serious issues being faced and act now to add your voice to our campaign and help us curb this trade.

To learn more: https://www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk/under-the-skin

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!