The African Union has endorsed a proposed moratorium on the donkey skin trade, which could see a suspension of the practice in February 2024.
The report, titled ‘Donkeys in Africa Now and In The Future’, was produced by the African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources, and highlights the impact of the donkey skin trade on the population of donkeys in the continent.
The proposal was produced with support from the International Coalition for Working Equids (ICWE), which includes Brooke, The Donkey Sanctuary, SPANA and World Horse Welfare.
The Donkey Sanctuary says that hundreds of thousands of donkeys have been slaughtered for their skin and exported in the past decade. This is driven by the demand in China for their skin for use in traditional Chinese medicine.
The report was approved at the 5th Ordinary Session of the Specialised Technical Committee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment, which consists of ministers and relevant senior officials from member states.
The recommendations will now be proposed to the Assembly of Heads of States and Governments, and could be adopted in February 2024.
Dr Otieno Mtula, regional campaigns and advocacy manager (Africa) for The Donkey Sanctuary, said: “The adoption of this report at the special technical committee session of the African Union last week is a critical and significant milestone on the way to protecting Africa’s donkey populations and the communities that rely on them.
“That it will be considered by the Executive Council of the African Union in February next year is testament not just to the urgency of the issue, but also the collaborative efforts of all those who have worked tirelessly to bring it to the fore.”
Dr Raphael Kinoti, regional director of Brooke East Africa, said: “This is so important for communities in Africa and their donkeys which suffer untold cruelty driven by this insatiable demand for their skins.
“We are delighted that the Committee recognised the socio-economic contribution of the donkey to livelihoods in Africa and hope every African country will respect this decision and stop this trade to preserve this critical natural heritage and the livelihoods that it supports.”
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