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Donkey crisis: Millions of animals in Africa slaughtered for Chinese “cure” – News abroad

They call it “Ejiao” and praise it as a miracle cure: In China’s growing middle class, gelatine made from donkey skin is selling well. In order to be able to meet the demand at affordable prices, most of the animal fur is imported from Africa – and is causing a dramatic decline in the donkey population there!

Around five million animals are skinned each year in East Africa for export. The business is not sustainable and is only geared towards profit. According to research by the Austrian “Kurier”, there is now even a threat of complete annihilation of the donkey population on the continent.


Donkey skins packed for export in a donkey slaughterhouse in Baringo, Kenya.

Donkey skins packed for export at a slaughterhouse in Baringo, KenyaPhoto: AFP

“Ejiao”, also known as “black gelatin”, is a supposed remedy made from donkey skin. It is boiled down into an ingredient in medicines, cosmetics, and sweets. It should act as a sexual enhancer, make your skin beautiful and contribute to a healthy sleep. The sales market for “Ejiao” has been booming for years, and demand can hardly be met.

In 2017 alone, 53 new billionaires joined China, the number of rich people in China is increasing, while “the donkey population in East Africa has decreased from eleven million to less than two and a half million since the 1990s,” said the courier.

Problem: Since a donkey pregnancy lasts an average of twelve months, the breeding farms cannot produce offspring quickly enough.

And: East African countries such as Kenya and Tanzania supply a large part of the almost five million skins that China needs every year to manufacture its “miracle cure”. Due to the mass export, however, the donkey price rises in the countries that are considered to be livestock and an important means of transport there.

This in turn is considered a major problem for the population and agriculture in East African countries such as Tanzania, according to the courier.

The situation in Kenya is even more catastrophic: the government there has announced that it will stop donkey exports. In many African countries, including Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda, the cruel slaughter is now banned.

Nevertheless, the freed four-legged friends were stolen and killed by thieves in order to peel off their skin and sell it on the black market: a kilogram of “Ejiao” currently costs 350 euros. Chinese companies keep buying.

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