The demand for donkey skins is showing no signs of diminishing and traders are now targeting donkey living in the wild populations in Brazil. The Donkey Sanctuary is sending a team out to investigate the situation.

This is the first time The Donkey Sanctuary has seen significant evidence of the skin trade looking beyond Africa as a major source of hides for the production of traditional Chinese medicine, ejiao.

As a result The Donkey Sanctuary is joining its partners in Brazil, who play a leading role in improving donkey welfare in the country as members of the National Donkey Taskforce, to investigate further.

We will be sending a small team from the UK to meet with key partners and the taskforce and legal experts. We will also re-visit the compound at Santa Quitera, and potentially inspect the slaughterhouse and holding facility where it is believed thousands of donkeys are being kept without food or water.

Donkeys are being torn from their natural habitat and ‘harvested’ for their skins and there appears to be a lack of regulation. Our major concern is the conditions in which the donkeys are being transported, held and slaughtered - which we strongly suspect is very poor, unsustainable and illegal.

Recently we have heard of complaints, accompanied by photographs and a video, saying that a large number of donkeys destined for slaughtering were being kept in 'precarious' conditions, where many died of hunger and ill-treatment and numerous carcasses seen floating in the waters of a local river.

We are calling for a halt to the trade in donkey skins to produce ejiao until the impact of the trade can be assessed and shown to be both humane for donkeys and sustainable in terms of protecting the populations living in the wild in Brazil.

Feral donkeys in Brazil
Feral donkeys in Brazil
Feral donkeys 2

National Donkey Taskforce

For the first time ever, a National Donkey Taskforce has been formed to highlight and improve the welfare of Brazil’s donkeys, particularly in the semi-arid region of the Northeast where as many as one million donkeys live.

The taskforce is a pioneering coalition of animal welfare organisations founded by key government institutions and universities in Brazil and the The Donkey Sanctuary.

The taskforce aims to identify the welfare issues and risks affecting donkeys in Brazil and to find long-term sustainable solutions, including raising awareness of the importance of donkey welfare through positive advocacy activities and training.

How you can help

Become a #DonkeyDefender