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Calls to better protect donkey welfare
OIE says the global donkey population is now at risk, especially in Africa where they are a key target of the skin trade.

Legal and illegal trade in donkey skins is growing - OIE 

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) is calling for better implementation of its standards to protect donkey welfare, amid the growing trade in donkey skins.

Demand for diverse products of donkey origin, particularly skins, has risen rapidly, according to OIE. As a result, the legal and illegal trade has recently increased, with major implications for donkey health and welfare.
Donkey skins are boiled to produce a gelatine called Ejiao, which is increasingly popular in Chinese medicine.

OIE says the global donkey population is now at risk, especially in Africa where they are a key target of the skin trade.

Major impacts of the trade include:

  • welfare conditions during transport and slaughter are often reported as very poor, in both the legal and illegal trade
  • animal diseases can spread to new areas when the global trade does not follow internationally agreed standards
  • in the illegal trade, the slaughter of donkeys does not meet welfare standards and can become a source of contamination as carcasses are left to decompose in the open, impacting public health and the environment
  • communities who rely on donkeys for their livelihoods may lose their animals, either by theft or choosing to sell them on for slaughter.

OIE sets international standards to improve animal health and welfare worldwide. In a statement it said: ‘Considering the impact and consequences of the increased global demand and trade of donkeys and their products, the OIE encourages its members to implement international standards, not only to protect donkey health and welfare, but also to safeguard the livelihoods that depend on them.’

The International Coalition for Working Equids (ICWE) welcomed the statement. Comprised of the Donkey Sanctuary, Brooke, SPANA and World Horse Welfare, the coalition has been working alongside OIE to implement welfare standards in African communities where disease has caused thousands of donkey fatalities in the past three months. The deaths have further depleted populations that have already been decimated by indiscriminate slaughter for skins.

Roly Owners, chair of ICWE, said: “We do not yet know the full extent of the impact of the donkey hide trade in Africa and of the loss of so many animals from disease, but ICWE members are ready to support communities and governments with technical advice to help implement the OIE standards. 

“We echo the OIE’s concern about reports of illegal transport and slaughter of these donkeys for a trade which needs to be more humane and sustainable.”

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New York to ban sale of foie gras

News Story 1
 New York City councillors have voted overwhelmingly in favour of legislation that will see the ban of foie gras in the city. The move, which comes in response to animal cruelty concerns, will take effect in 2022.


 Councillor Carlina Rivera, who sponsored the legislation, told the New York Times that her bill “tackles the most inhumane process” in the commercial food industry. “This is one of the most violent practices, and it’s done for a purely luxury product,” she said.


 Foie gras is a food product made of the liver of a goose or duck that has been fattened, often by force-feeding. New York City is one of America’s largest markets for the product, with around 1,000 restaurants currently offering it on their menu. 

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News Shorts
Humane Slaughter Association student scholarships open for applications

Applications for the Humane Slaughter Association’s student/trainee Dorothy Sidley Memorial Scholarships are now open.

The Scholarships provide funding to enable students or trainees in the industry to undertake a project aimed at improving the welfare of food animals during marketing, transport and slaughter. The project may be carried out as an integral part of a student's coursework over an academic year, or during the summer break.

The deadline for applications is midnight on the 28 February 2020. To apply and for further information visit www.hsa.org.uk/grants or contact the HSA office.