In Africa, news of the donkey meat and skin trade started north and now it’s spreading south - demand is growing fast, affecting donkeys and the people who rely on them across the continent.
The Donkey Sanctuary is working with its partners across Africa to review the trade.
We spoke to Annemarie van Zjil, founder of Eseltijesrus Donkey Sanctuary in South Africa, about the problem. Listen here:
“They [donkeys] are rounded up, stolen or just found then transported in horrendous circumstances and treated inhumanely,” said Annemarie van Zjil, founder of Eseltjiesrus Donkey Sanctuary in an interview with South Africa’s Classic FM this week. “There is a huge impact on the human population that rely on the donkeys and there are many, many of those,” she added.
The NSCPA, which works to protect the welfare of animals across the country in accordance with South African law, has reported horrific cases of donkeys being stolen or starved in order to export the skins whilst another South African-based organisation, Highveld Horse Care Unit, are working on the ground helping donkeys caught up in the trade.
These organisations are part of The Donkey Sanctuary’s network of partners across Africa – funded to help promote donkey welfare through community, training and veterinary programmes.
Marianne Brown here at The Donkey Sanctuary has been speaking with Annemarie in South Africa to understand how it’s affecting her Sanctuary and why it’s so important our charities work together on these global issues.
In Asia, donkey skins are used to produce gelatin (ejiao) which is traded as a traditional medicine and beauty product. Sky rocketing demand has led to shortfalls of donkeys in countries that rely on environmentally friendly donkey power.
While Niger and Burkina Faso have banned exports of donkey products, according to news reports, Namibia has become the latest country to plan an abattoir capable of processing 600 donkeys a day to export donkey hides to China.
The Donkey Sanctuary cannot endorse or support an industry which compromises the welfare of donkeys and their owners and is currently undertaking a comprehensive review of the trade in donkey meat and skin.