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The African Union Prohibits the Cruel Trade in Donkey Skins

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Animal protection organizations have praised the African Union for its historic decision to outlaw the brutal donkey skin trade throughout the continent.

Sanctioned at the end of the African Union meeting in Ethiopia, the ban makes it illegal for anybody in Africa to kill donkeys for their hides. This ban is in reaction to the enormous demand—fueled by the traditional Chinese medication Ejiao—for donkey skins.

Renowned organization The Donkey Sanctuary applauded the decision, calling the trade “brutal and unsustainable.” The group emphasized the negative effects of the trade on donkey populations around the world, especially in South America and Africa.

As domestic populations declined, Chinese firms began searching outside of China for donkey hides because to the rumored health and anti-aging qualities of ejiao. Legal slaughterhouses proliferated throughout Africa, initially viewed by governments as a lucrative prospect. But the swift growth of the trade resulted in a disastrous fall in donkey populations.

About half of Kenya’s donkey population was harmed by the trade between 2016 and 2019, according to Dr. Solomon Onyango of the Donkey Sanctuary in Kenya.

Africa, home to around two-thirds of the world’s 53 million donkeys, will be greatly impacted by the prohibition. These animals are significant to rural populations because they provide transportation and carry necessities like food and water.

A recent study conducted in Ethiopia highlighted the economic importance of donkeys and showed how essential they are to maintaining modest livelihoods and averting destitution.

Animal welfare charity The Brooke’s regional director in East Africa, Raphael Kinoti, praised the ban as a “terrific moment” for African communities who depend on donkeys. He stressed how the killing of donkeys for their skins destroys livelihoods and cultural heritage.

Kinoti emphasized the ban’s wider advantages for the health, biodiversity, and cultural identity of the continent in her appeal to all African Union members to uphold it.

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