You mightn’t think of donkey skin being a medical product, and indeed, there is no proven medically effective ingredient. However, in traditional Chinese medicine, donkey skin is used to make a therapy called “ejiao”, and as a result of the demand for this, thousands of donkeys are slaughtered every year for their skins in Kenya, then exported to China. There is no reasonable rationale for this, and donkeys, along with donkey owners, suffer as a consequence.
In February 2020 the Kenyan Government announced a ban on the killing of donkeys for their skins, but after slaughterhouses demanded a review, and following a year-long battle in the courts, the ban was lifted on 5 May 2021.
Dr Raphael Kinoti, Regional Director at Brooke East Africa said: “This is a massive blow for donkeys, animal welfare, and especially for the hardworking people who rely on donkeys to earn a living and provide for their families. This trade has had a horrific impact on them, with donkeys being stolen and sold to these slaughterhouses.
The ban on donkey slaughter, announced in February 2020, was a direct response to the pleas of donkey owning communities, and we’re disappointed that the court has found in favour of slaughterhouses.”
Ian Cawsey, Director of Advocacy at The Donkey Sanctuary said: “We were very disappointed that the Kenyan court overturned the decision of their government to end donkey slaughter. We hope the government will remain resolved to finding a way to deliver their decision.Donkeys slaughtered for their skin is an unnecessary and unsustainable trade that has bad outcomes for donkeys and the communities they are an integral part of. We will continue to support local donkey owners so donkeys in Kenya are protected and safe from the skin trade.”
Donkey-owning communities have already started protesting across the country, and will now regroup to agree actions they will take to tackle the issue following this ruling. Brooke and The Donkey Sanctuary will continue to campaign, even harder now, with local donkey owner groups, for the ban.