The donkey market in poor countries, like Pakistan, is flourishing illegally, to the detriment of putting this animal in the category of endangered species.
China’s ejiao industry, which uses a gelatine taken from donkey skins in traditional medicines, is putting the donkey populations of other countries at risk! Demand for their skin has led to a dramatic fall in the number of donkeys in Pakistan, India, Kyrgyzstan, Botswana and Mongolia.
The ejiao industry is putting substantial financial resources into the development of donkey-breeding farms in China so that it doesn’t have to rely on middlemen scouring the earth for raw materials.
However, donkeys breed at a pace not conducive to neither speed (12-month gestation) nor efficiency (high levels of miscarriages when bred intensively).
Until these hurdles are overcome, if they ever can be, then the vast majority of the 4.8m donkeys slaughtered each year for the production of ejiao will continue to be sourced from countries where they provide a sustainable living for millions of vulnerable communities and families.
As the initial supply of readily available or “spare”donkeys diminishes, so too the instances and threat of donkey theft increase.
Prices for donkeys have rocketed, up by 300% in Kenya alone last year, reflecting an unrelenting demand.
China is in effect aiding an overseas industry that is already making extraordinary profits by cutting the import duty on donkey skin.
This helping hand from China will result in even more poaching and slaughter of an animal that supports and sustains some of the world’s poorest people.
(Mike Baker, Chief Executive Officer, Donkey Sanctuary, Sidmouth, Devon…..)
(The Economist, February 3rd, 2018)