What’s Killing Donkeys By The Millions?

Lilly M, CC BY-SA 3.0

Another ridiculous ‘traditional Chinese medicine’ myth is slaughtering donkeys across the globe

(CNN)Donkey populations are under serious threat due to the demand for their hides, which are used in traditional Chinese medicine, according to a new report.

Gelatin produced from donkey hide is a key ingredient of one of China’s favorite traditional remedies, known as ejiao, which is used to treat a range of ailments from colds to insomnia.

With just under 5 million skins needed ever year for ejiao production, the industry would need more than half the world’s current donkeys over the next five years to meet demand, according to a report from The Donkey Sanctuary.

In the past six years the ejiao industry has grown rapidly due to increased demand and price rises, with annual production increasing from 3,200 tonnes in 2013 to 5,600 tonnes in 2016, according to The Donkey Sanctuary.

To meet demand, Chinese businesses need about 4.8 million donkey hides per year.

Donkey populations in China have collapsed 76% since 1992, so the industry has turned to foreign suppliers, particularly in Africa, Asia and South America, says the organization.

Brazil has seen a 28% reduction in donkey populations since 2007, compared to 37% in Botswana and 53% in Kyrgyzstan.

In response The Donkey Sanctuary is pressing for “an urgent halt to the largely unregulated global trade in donkey skins before donkeys are virtually wiped out in some areas.”

The impact of the collapse of the donkey population will be felt most keenly by those 500 million people who rely on the animals in some of the world’s poorest communities, according to the organization … Read more. 

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