Donkey Skin Trade Threatens Welfare, Populations Worldwide

Derived from donkey skin, ejiao is used in traditional Chinese medicine. Demand for donkeys to meet its growing popularity has put the equids at risk.
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Donkey Skin Trade Threatens Welfare, Populations Worldwide
A booming demand for a traditional Chinese medicine, ejiao, is driving up prices for donkeys across the globe, say donkey researchers and welfare experts. | Photo: Courtesy of The Donkey Sanctuary

They come from Africa. Asia. South America. Australia. Europe. And yes, even North America.

A booming demand for a traditional Chinese medicine, ejiao, is driving up prices for donkeys across the globe, say donkey researchers and welfare experts. Meanwhile, donkeys themselves are paying a much higher price, with often “brutal” slaughter methods and “horrific” pre-slaughter conditions, those experts say.

“We’re seeing absolutely terrifying scenarios, mainly in developing countries,” said Faith Burden, PhD, director of research and operational support at The Donkey Sanctuary, in the U.K

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Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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