Skip to content

Social media is fuelling the cruel, illegal trade in donkey skins

  • by
Illegal trade in donkey skins fuels Chinese medicine again

NEWS AND COMMENT: I’m afraid to say that the Chinese are again complicit in animal cruelty and the abuse of animals in general. I am reluctant to state that but it is patently true. In this instance a health tonic or face cream which is increasingly popular with China’s growing middle class, ejiao, requires around 4.8 million donkey skins annually to meet a burgeoning demand. Shocked?! That’s a lot of misery.

Illegal trade in donkey skins fuels Chinese medicine again

Illegal trade in donkey skins fuels Chinese ‘medicine’ again and in this case of as an ingredient in beauty products. The photograph comes from the website Improve Veterinary Practice.

RELATED: Do donkeys like their ears rubbed?

Facebook and Twitter are accused of fuelling this illegal trade in donkey skins. They’ve been urged to take action against this trade after thousands have been found advertised for sale on social media and e-commerce sites.

The Donkey Sanctuary charity has compiled a report into this illicit trade. They reveal that thousands of donkey skins were for sale online including on Facebook and Twitter.

A postdoctoral research fellow at Oxford University’s Saïd business School, Dr. Ewan Macdonald, the co-author of the report, said that almost 20% of donkey-skin traders operating online also sold wildlife products from other animals including elephant ivory, big cat parts and pangolin scales.

The Donkey Sanctuary has urged social media platforms to ban the sale of the skins and to take down the listings. The acting chief executive of the charity, Marianne Steele, said:

“There is no doubt that the global ejiao trade is having a devastating impact on the welfare of donkeys around the world, who suffer at every point from source to slaughter. This new research demonstrates just how vast the online donkey skin trade has become, and how entrenched it is with criminal activity and other illegal wildlife trafficking.”

The argument is that if social media sites crackdown on these listings they will not only help protect donkeys but also other wildlife being traded by these criminals. And they will also help those people who rely on donkeys to survive. This is a mass slaughter of 4.8 million donkeys annually. It is staggering to think about that. Donkeys are sentient beings and, on my estimation, they can love their owner. In other words, they can reciprocate love. This is something which is not on the radar of these animal abusers.

RELATED: Can donkeys love their owners?

And it is staggering and shocking to think about how abused donkey are across the planet. And this ridiculous Chinese so-called remedy contributes to that abuse.

Ejiao it is also known as “donkey-hide glue”. It is produced from the collagen extracted from donkey skin. It is mixed with other ingredients including herbs to create liquids, pills or bars to be eaten, drunk or, as mentioned, used in beauty products. It is also believed to improve blood circulation. I have read that a lot of things, to the Chinese, improves blood circulation including eating cat meat. It is all superstition. Superstition should not be the cause of animal abuse in countries outside of China.

It must be added that corrupt African officials are complicit in this illegal trade. The Chinese have moved into Africa for their wealth in minerals and metals et cetera. They have also moved in to grab animal body parts. There are a lot of animals in Africa that the Chinese want in order to fuel their Chinese traditional medicine. And they know that African officials can be corrupted so it is straightforward enough to get those body parts back to China on sale to feed their superstition.

I’ll presume that the trade in donkey skins is illegal under the international treaties which is commonly called CITES. This is an acronym for Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *