Cookie use on MRCVSonline
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies.
If you would like to forward this story on to a friend, simply fill in the form below and click send.

Your friend's email:
Your email:
Your name:
 
 
Send Cancel

Donkey charity calls for halt to deadly skin trade
donkeys
Donkeys caught up in the trade have little hope.

Millions of donkeys suffering to sustain demand for Chinese medicine

Millions of donkeys are at risk of being slaughtered so that their skins can be used in traditional Chinese medicine, according to an investigation by The Donkey Sanctuary.

The charity believes that as many as 10 million donkeys could suffer to sustain the demand for ejiao - a traditional Chinese medicine that relies on gelatine obtained from the hides.

It is now calling for an immediate halt to the trade until it can be proven to be humane for donkeys and sustainable to the countries that depend on them.

Comprehensive study

The Donkey Sanctuary’s ‘Under the Skin’ investigative report is the first comprehensive study of the trade.
It found that the trade in ejiao has led to an explosion in the number of donkeys in Asia, Africa and South America being sourced, stolen and slaughtered for their skin.

Donkeys caught up in the trade have little hope. The charity says that the skin of an expensive, healthy animal generates as much profit as a diseased animal. This means that traders see no value in maintaining good welfare conditions.

“We’ve seen reports of donkeys being skinned alive, being bludgeoned to death, being transported for long distances with no opportunity to rest, feed or drink,” commented Alex Mayers, international programme manager at The Donkey Sanctuary.

“The welfare of any donkey both during and at the end of its life is paramount and should be the primary concern, as for any food-producing animal. Sadly the welfare of donkeys used to produce skins and meat is frequently reported to be ‘severely compromised’ during sourcing, transport and slaughter.”

Recommendations

While most countries with significant donkey populations are reporting an increase in donkey slaughters, some countries- like Burkina Faso and Niger - have banned the export of donkey hides.

The Donkey Sanctuary says that its report will now be used as a tool to champion donkeys and their welfare on a global scale. In it, the charity recommends:

    •    a halt to the trade in donkey skin so the impact of the trade can be assessed
    •    It urges countries to follow the lead of Burkina Faso and Niger and ban the slaughter and export of donkeys
    •    It calls on governments and the industry to help raise public awareness about the impact of the trade so that consumers of ejiao can make an informed choice
    •    It appeals to governments and local authorities to join efforts to support affected communities

“Donkey populations cannot continue to be decimated and communities must not be deprived of their only means of survival. Action must be taken now to curb this trade, in the interest of both animal and human welfare,” said Mike Baker, CEO of The Donkey Sanctuary.

Become a member or log in to add this story to your CPD history

New app to improve street dog welfare

News Story 1
 A new free app will support vital work in clinics caring for stray dogs around the world, experts say. Created by the University of Edinburgh, the tool allows vets to track the wellbeing of dogs going through catch-neuter-return schemes, which are common in countries with large numbers of strays.

Vets say the welfare of individual dogs can be overlooked during the process of capture, transport or surgery. The app, piloted across Asia and Africa, helps staff to monitor welfare, spot signs of distress and develop strategies to improve care. It was launched at BSAVA Congress on Friday 6 April.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
Farm to fork traceability championed in new service

Defra has created a new information service to offer farm to fork traceability when the UK leaves the EU. The Livestock Information Service, which is set to be operational from 2019, will identify and track animal movements via electronic IDs, meaning the industry and government are better placed to respond in the event of a disease outbreak.

Environment secretary Michael Gove said: “This service will be instrumental in improving traceability and providing guarantees to consumers about the origin of their food. NFU President Minette Batters, among others, has helped lead the way on this, showing how it will drive a progressive and vibrant livestock industry once we leave the EU.”