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Stealing of donkeys in Africa to sate China’s demand

Access to new resource related to animal rights and protection added to PMWL


Resource provided by Daisy Ogutu

5 March 2020 – Kisumu, Kenya – Access to a new resource has been added to the PM World Library (PMWL) related to animal rights and protection. The new resource is titled: “To sate China’s demand, African donkeys are stolen and skinned”, by Rachel Nuwer published in The New York Times in 2018.

Donkeys have been serving mankind for thousands of years. The phrase “the beast of burden” describes their utility as pack animals in many parts of the world as they play a significant economic and social role in transport whether riding, pack transport or pulling carts. However, these animals that once served mankind so well are decreasing in numbers so rapidly. In many parts of East Africa, donkeys are now being stolen and slaughtered to produce a kind of medicine in China known as ejiao. Almost 1.8million donkeys are slaughtered each year to produce ejiao. Since China cannot meet this demand on their own, they buy from developing countries.

In this article by the New York Times, we find that even though 14 African countries have enacted various bans against the international donkey trade, the trade shows no signs of slowing as prices of donkey skins are now 50 times higher than in 2014. Kenya has 4 abattoirs that are either Chinese owned or have Chinese as partners. The number of donkeys in the country now cannot even sustain demand. What’s worse is that the donkeys arrive in the abattoirs in horrific conditions, some with broken legs or maggot infested wounds and many in states of near starvation as they are kept in the sun and/or rain for days without sustenance. The method of slaughtering the animals is also inhumane and the waste disposal methods are unhygienic. Cruelty complaints have been filed by the Kenya Society for the Protection and Care of Animals.

To access this new resource, go to Solving Global Problems section of the library at, scroll down and click on “Domestic Animal Rescue”, scroll down to resource. Free access, but please consider registering for the trial or full membership.

This new resource provided through the PMWL university research internship program; to learn more, click here