THE DONKEY SKIN TRADE
Millions of donkeys are being brutally slaughtered each year for the sole purpose of creating a Chinese medicinal gelatin known as ejiao. Demand for ejiao has spiked dramatically during the past decade, so much so that China now imports donkey skins from around the world, including North America. Unfortunately, the U.S. government continues to allow American equines to be live-exported across our borders to both Canada and Mexico for butchering and commodification, including selling off the skins of our donkeys and wild burros.
WHAT IS EJIAO?
The skins of donkeys have been used as a traditional Chinese medicine called "ejiao" for thousands of years. Ejiao (eh-gee-yow) is a hard gel that's used in food and drinks, or in beauty products such as face creams. Although there is no science-backed support on its efficacy, it's believed to improve a variety of conditions such as bleeding, dizziness, insomnia and dry cough.
With the recent surge in popularity, the ejiao worldwide market is estimated to be worth over $25 billion. With no alternative formulations being offered by manufacturers, it's consumer demand and profiteering that's fueling the massacre of donkeys around the globe.
- Global donkey population is 43.5 million. The donkey population in China alone has decreased from 11 million a few years ago to 5.4 million in 2016 (FAOSTAT, 2016). Heavy marketing for ejiao is contributing to increased demand for donkey skin outside China and increased global trade and poaching of donkeys to fill the need.
- Donkeys are poorly suited to intensive breeding practices due to long gestation periods, low fecundity, and a high propensity to abortion and mortality caused by stress. Although the ejiao industry in China is investing heavily inbreeding donkeys, this is not currently meeting the demand.
- National demand for ejiao in China would require 2.5 to 4.5 million donkey skins a year, yet they are only able to get 1 million/year thus, threat of unsustainable utilization and skyrocketing prices for donkeys is high as demand has out stripped supply.
HELP PROTECT AMERICAN DONKEYS
Every year thousands of donkeys and burros from the United States are live-exported across international borders for the sole purpose of being butchered for their meat and hides.
If passed into federal law, The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, H.R.961 / S.2006, would make it illegal to slaughter any member of the equidae family on U.S. soil or abroad.
Help protect American donkeys and wild burros from the gruesome slaughter pipeline by reaching out to your federal lawmakers.