Group Says South African Donkeys Killed for China Market
JOHANNESBURG — Animal rights activists in South Africa say donkeys are being illegally slaughtered in increasing numbers because their hides are used in traditional medicine in China.
The Chinese embassy in South Africa said Friday that it supports any efforts by South African authorities to combat the theft and illegal killing of donkeys, including the prosecution of those responsible.
The embassy announcement follows a report this week by South Africa’s NSPCA, an animal protection group, that hundreds of donkeys were slaughtered on a farm in Northern Cape province. The group cites witness reports that donkeys were bludgeoned with hammers and skinned alive and says two men were arrested.
The NSPCA says donkey hides contain a gelatin that is used in traditional medicine in China.
According to a Nigerian news report, China’s appetite for their donkeys has been escalating since 2015. Here is an excerpt from a news report on the issue published a year ago in January, 2016:
Donkeys are not bred in large number by any major farm or organization anywhere in Nigeria, so their population are dwindling, and fast. Some experts who spoke to Daily Trust even declared them “endangered”…
Mr. Ling Xao, a Chinese national working in the construction sector, told Daily Trust in Lafia that donkey by-products, particularly the skin, are hot cake in China, commanding sizeable price tags. He added that it is because it is a staple in Chinese traditional medicine, particularly in anti-ageing solutions popular with women. While Xao says he has never taken the skin out of Nigeria, he confirmed that he would if given the opportunity, as it would fetch him a lot of money…
Chinese merchants use the skin mainly to meet a growing demand in cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies producing Gelatin…A Chinese diplomatic official confirmed that donkey skin is used for medicine in China, but the embassy seems unaware of how far their nationals have penetrated trade on the commodity in Nigeria…