South Africa’s latest hot export to China? Donkeys

Chinese demand for traditional medicines has driven poachers from rhinoceros to pancakes to hunt African animals. Now a more vicious creature is under threat: donkeys.

When it is revered by empire, the gelatin known as ejiao – made from donkey skins – is increasingly sought after by the Chinese. middle rang.

The health benefits are believed to be similar to products derived from rhino horns, from operating as a blood thinner to acting as an aphrodisiac, which may relieve pressure on endangered rhinoceros.

But as in countries from Burkina Faso to Kenya, South Africa is now depleting its donkey population, threatening other businesses that make soap and cream from donkey milk.

“In South Africa, the donkey population has declined sharply due to illegal slaughter to supply the Chinese skin trade,” said Jesse Christelis, co – founder of Donkey Dairy.

A recent study by researchers from the University of South Africa showed that the donkey population decreased from 210,000 in 1996 to about 146,000 in 2019.

Prices are soaring due to shrinking supply. According to Christelis, a donkey won about $ 30 at an auction five years ago. Now they cost about $ 125 each.

That’s still a relative market in China where donkey hides sell for $ 473 in 2018 at $ 1,160 now.

The ejiao produced from them can sell for up to $ 360 per kilogram.

South Africa legally exports about 10,500 donkey hides to China each year, but the actual quantity is believed to be much higher as smugglers have taken over the trade.

“This year, we intercepted two loads of donkeys going to Lesotho,” said Grace De Lange of the National Council for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

– donkey hurlers –

“On our farm there is a big focus on chasing donkeys that have been planted in unfortunate places and we buy them out,” he told AFP.

“We often sit at most auctions, whether it be an online auction or a physical auction to offer to the slaughtered buyers who supply donkey skins to the trade.”

Donkey theft also strikes small farmers who need the animals to transport their produce.

“Stock theft units need to be more proactive,” said Ashley Ness, an inspector at the Highveld Horse Care Unit, an equine welfare agency located on the outskirts of Johannesburg.

“Instead of taking action after the cause, they should take control of villages that are approached by suspicious agents.”

The best agricultural officer in the Northwest Province, Manketsi Tlhape, said they were “investigating all reported incidents”.

However, donkey farmers like Christelis have limited options to protect their herd from robbery.

“We have electric fences, alarms and our donkeys are also microchipped for fear of being stolen,” he said.

– Donkey Dairy –

Little is known about the size of the ejiao market, but the British – based animal welfare group Donkey Sanctuary estimates that China needed five million skins in 2019 to supply the trade.

In contrast, the market for products that use donkey milk is still in its infancy. The global donkey milk market size is estimated to reach $ 16 million by 2026.

South Africa has two donkey dairies, but they may not be viable if animal prices continue to rise.

Kenya banned the killing of donkeys in 2020, after populations fell there due to the skin trade.

Donkey milk is believed to have antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-diabetic properties.

“I think the donkey skin trade is a threat to donkey dairies in South Africa and across Africa,” said Christelis, who owns 116 donkeys on his farm.

“The increased demand for donkey milk comes primarily from people with eczema, psoriasis,” he said. “With the number of donkeys declining, we do not know if the demand for donkey milk will be met.”

South Africa’s latest hot export to China? Donkeys Source link South Africa’s latest hot export to China? Donkeys

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