The demand for donkey skins to produce a traditional medication of china could wipe out over half of the world’s donkey population in the following five decades, researchers said.
Nearly five thousand skins are used annually to make ejiao, a gel believed in China for a remedy to problems which cause aging, placing tremendous strain on donkey populations around the globe, animal welfare group DonkeySanctuary stated in a report.
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Ejiao was the preserve of emperors but is now highly sought after by the middle class, with manufacturing growing 20 percent each year between 2013 and 2016, Donkey Sanctuary explained.
China’s national donkey population has collapsed by 76 percent since 1992, and the country imports the majority of the skins it uses from traders in Africa South America and Asia.
There are currently around 45.8 million donkeys in the world, Donkey Sanctuary said.
The donkey skin trade has led to”suffering on an enormous and unacceptable scale,” the team’s chief executive Mike Baker said in a statement.
Researchers documented instances of unhygienic and inhumane processing requirements, such as donkeys being bludgeoned on the head in a slaughterhouse of Tanzania while still aware and conscious.
At a holding center in Brazil, malnourished animals were kept in the very same pens as”hundreds of donkey carcasses” that had contaminated the only available water supply,” putting residual donkeys in danger of either infectious disease or acute dehydration.”
Researchers warned the supply chain that has sprung up to meet growing demand could place ejiao consumers at risk while contributing to the spread of disease.
Inadequate hygiene requirements increase the danger that”infected vectors, like insects, might also be found on the product,” the report stated.
Additionally, “donkeys owned by vulnerable communities along trade routes are in danger of being infected with diseases carried by donkeys passing through.'”