Breaking Victory! African Union Bans Violent Donkey-Skin Trade

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2 min read

PETA is celebrating a historic victory for donkeys! The African Union has announced a 15-year continentwide ban on slaughtering donkeys for their skin. This decision will prevent countless donkeys from being violently killed so that their skins can be exported to China and boiled down to make gelatin for ejiao—a traditional Chinese “medicine.”

donkey farm with victory text announcing that the african union banned the donkey-skin trade

This monumental win follows a campaign against the ejiao trade by PETA entities and a coalition of animal protection groups in and outside Africa. PETA Asia’s eye-opening investigation at a donkey slaughterhouse in Kenya—which revealed that donkeys were left to suffer from untreated injuries and that some even died during the torturous, days-long journey to the slaughterhouse—ignited global outrage.

Many countries, including Botswana, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda, either banned the export of donkey skin or closed down Chinese-owned slaughterhouses. But donkeys were still being sent on grueling days-long journeys to slaughterhouses in Kenya and Nigeria, countries where the trade was still legal.

Animal advocates kept up the pressure, and PETA entities and hundreds of thousands of our supporters contacted African officials. This moratorium on donkey slaughter is a massive blow to the Chinese ejiao industry, which relies heavily on imports of donkey skins from Africa and elsewhere.

In 2017, a first-of-its-kind PETA Asia investigation revealed that donkey farms in China confined the animals to cramped, feces-caked pens with concrete floors. At a donkey market, terrified animals were beaten with sticks while they were forced to stand in the hot sun. At the slaughterhouse, donkeys were bashed in the head with a sledgehammer before workers slit their throats.

In addition to inflicting unimaginable suffering on gentle donkeys, the ejiao trade was decimating Africa’s donkey population. Between 2016 and 2019, Kenyan slaughterhouses reportedly killed about half the donkeys in the country for this cruel trade. PETA is now urging all African Union member nations to strictly enforce the ban.

What You Can Do

Donkeys are patient, kind, intelligent animals. They can recognize the faces of animals they haven’t seen for years, and they feel pain and fear just as any other animal does. You can continue to help them by refusing to purchase products made with ejiao. Look out for ingredients such as “donkey oil,” “donkey-hide gelatin,” “donkey hide,” “donkey glue,” and “ass-hide glue.”

Call on Xie Feng—the Chinese ambassador to the U.S.—to use his influence to protect donkeys from suffering in the ejiao industry:

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