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Chinese medicine Ejiao has left the world’s donkey population in crisis, British study finds

MIKE BAKER: These sentient animals are transported across long distances without food, water or rest, and held for days in yards without shelter, before being slaughtered in often brutal conditions.

JULIAN RYALL: ‘A study by a British charity dedicated to protecting donkeys says soaring demand in China for the traditional medicine ejiao has left the global population of the animal “in crisis”. The Donkey Sanctuary, which is based in Devon, says their number could be cut by half in as little as five years if nothing is done to halt the largely unregulated trade in the mammals’ skins.

The report says populations are “collapsing” across Africa, South America and Asia as millions of donkeys are slaughtered every year to meet Chinese demand for ejiao, a glue or gelatin obtained from donkey hide. The study found that pregnant mares, foals and sick donkeys are killed to meet growing demand, while some animals are stolen from their owners by dealers.

Mike Baker, CEO of The Donkey Sanctuary, said “never before have donkeys faced this level of threat”.
“These dependable, hard-working, sentient animals experience appalling suffering as a result of the activities of skin traders across the world,” he said. “They are often transported across long distances, without food, water or rest, and they can be held for days in yards without shelter, before being slaughtered in often brutal conditions.”

According to the study, titled Under the Skin Update, China’s ejiao industry requires about 4.8 million donkey skins a year. In 1992, there were an estimated 11 million donkeys in the country but that figure has collapsed to just 2.6 million today. As a consequence, the industry has turned to overseas in search of donkey hides…

In a little over a decade, donkey numbers in Brazil have fallen by 28 per cent and by 37 per cent in Botswana. In Kyrgyzstan, numbers have plummeted by 53 per cent. “With just under 5 million skins needed every year for Ejiao production, the industry would need more than half the world’s donkeys over the next five years to meet demand,” the report states’.  SOURCE…


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