China’s e-jiao trade kills millions of donkeys every year

China's e-jiao trade kills millions of donkeys every year

China’s insatiable demand for e-jiao, a traditional medicine made from donkey skin collagen, is decimating Africa’s donkey populations. 

The country requires an estimated 5.9 million donkey skins annually, leading to the slaughter of millions of animals. 

Once considered a luxury product, e-jiao has gained popularity due to the Chinese television show Empress in the Palace, which features the product. 

The decline in China’s donkey population (over 80% since 1992) has fueled the demand for skins from Africa. 

With the world’s largest donkey population, Africa uses these animals for labor and transportation. The African Union has banned donkey slaughter for skins for China, but trafficking and illegal slaughtering persist. 

The slaughter process involves striking donkeys on the forehead, hanging them upside down, and bleeding them out. China’s demand has driven the mass processing of donkey skins in factories.

China told news agency Reuters that it respects Africa’s wishes but encourages Chinese companies and citizens to follow local regulations. 

Four major companies dominate the e-jiao industry in China, benefiting from the surge in sales. The African Union’s ban on donkey hides aims to protect donkey populations and curb trafficking. 

However, industry experts warn that traders may find alternative ways to export hides. The future of Africa’s donkeys remains uncertain.

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