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Activists urge Kenya to halt ‘horrific’ donkey skin sales to China

ALEX MAYERS: We've seen cases in Botswana where donkeys have been rounded up and machine-gunned. In South Africa slaughter operators have admitted using hammers to kill the donkeys, or skinning them alive.

FRAN BLANDY: ‘Donkey skins are exported to China to make a traditional medicine known as ejiao, which is believed to improve blood circulation, slow ageing, and boost libido and fertility. It was once the preserve of emperors but is now highly sought after by a burgeoning middle-class. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) told AFP an investigation inside Kenyan slaughterhouses showed animals being cruelly beaten by workers, or dead after long truck journeys from neighbouring countries… China is increasingly looking to Africa to satisfy demand as its own donkey population has nearly halved in recent years…

“There are virtually no laws against the abuse of animals on farms or in slaughterhouses in Kenya, so none of the violence captured in the footage is punishable from a legal standpoint,” PETA said in a statement… Alex Mayers of the UK-based animal welfare organisation The Donkey Sanctuary said stories about the trade first began emerging in 2016, with tales of people waking up in the morning to find all of their donkeys had been stolen in the night, often skinned a short distance away…

An investigation by the body in 2017 found the donkey skin trade was inhumane and “completely unsustainable”, he said. As the main export is the skin, “it doesn’t really matter if a donkey is beaten or bruised by the time it is slaughtered, there is no incentive at all to keep donkeys in good welfare,” said Mayers. In Tanzania, there had been cases of slaughterhouse workers using sledgehammers to kill donkeys, he added.

“We’ve seen cases in Botswana where donkeys have been rounded up and machine-gunned. In South Africa slaughter operators have admitted using hammers to kill the donkeys, or… skinning them alive”… In East Africa, there were an estimated 2.4 million donkeys, and between Kenya’s four slaughterhouses and illegal traders, an estimated 2,000 donkeys were killed daily, he added. If this continues, donkeys in the region could be wiped out in four years, said Mayers’. SOURCE…

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