This trade in donkey skins, in both its legal and illegal forms, is resulting in a chain of welfare issues for the donkeys at every step, from sourcing to transport and finally slaughter. These issues can’t be ignored - the donkeys' welfare and their real value supporting people’s livelihoods is at risk.
Donkeys are in a state of global crisis with the animals facing population collapse across a number of countries as traders target their skins to export as an ingredient for ejiao, a traditional Chinese medicine.
Our latest report into the trade, Under the Skin Update, has found that local donkey populations have crashed in a number of countries as increasing demand for ejiao has led to an unsustainable number of donkeys being slaughtered.
The updated report reveals that the skin trade now represents a global crisis for donkeys and for the people that depend on them. The growth that has occurred in the ejiao industry, since our first report, has placed relentless demand on donkey populations and, as such, the situation for donkeys and donkey-dependent communities has significantly worsened.
We are calling for the ejiao industry to cut links with the global skin trade and move towards more sustainable sources of raw materials provided by cellular agriculture such as the use of artificially grown donkey-derived collagen.
We are also recommending that the Chinese Government suspends the import of donkeys and their products until both can be proven to be disease free, humane, sustainable and safe and for national governments to take immediate steps to stop the trade.