African Union bans donkey skin trade

Continent has seen its donkey population ‘decimated’ over last decade due to Chinese demand for ejiao, a gelatin used in traditional Chinese medicine, says animal welfare group

The African Union has banned the donkey skin trade, signaling an end to years of the legal slaughter of hundreds of thousands of donkeys across the continent.

The ban came as the AU heads of state met on Feb 17-18 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for the 37th Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly to ratify a number of motions including the ban on donkey skin sales last week.

In November, the AU’s Specialized Technical Committee for Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment in November had proposed the ban.

Over the last decade, Africa has seen its donkey population “decimated” due to Chinese demand for ejiao, a gelatin used in traditional Chinese medicine that is made from boiling down donkey hides, according to Brooke – Action for Working Horses and Donkeys, an animal welfare group.

“Believed to have unsubstantiated health benefits, demand for ejiao has obliterated China’s own donkey population, leading to huge export industries elsewhere – namely Africa and South America,” it said.

Yet approximately two-thirds of the world’s estimated 53 million donkeys are in Africa, with people in the poorest, rural communities using the donkeys for transport and to carry water, food and other goods.

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