from MARIA MACHARIA in Nairobi, Kenya
NAIROBI, (CAJ News) – MILLIONS of donkeys suffer inhumane treatment and slaughter annually amid a surge in illegal online donkey skin trade.
Well-known social media platforms, including unregulated websites, are fuelling the crisis perpetrated by organised criminals.
The lawbreakers are exploiting the online channels and platforms to smuggle other endangered species including rhino horns along with donkey skins.
The Donkey Sanctuary, an international animal welfare and rescue charity, has revealed the size and scale of the crisis.
A report by the organisation revealed 4,8 million donkeys annually suffer cruel treatment and slaughter to meet demand from traditional Chinese remedy industry, devastating the communities that rely on them.
Thousands of dealers operate online every day with endangered products like rhino horns trafficked alongside donkey skins.
These findings form part of “The Global Trade in Donkey Skins: A Ticking Time Bomb.”
The Donkey Sanctuary’s report cites the findings of a research paper by an interdisciplinary team from Oxford University’s Saïd Business School and Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU).
“There is no doubt that the global ejiao trade is having a devastating impact on the welfare of donkeys around the world, who suffer at every point from source to slaughter,” said Marianne Steele, Acting CEO of The Donkey Sanctuary.
“This new research demonstrates just how vast the online donkey skin trade has become, and how entrenched it is with criminal activity and other illegal wildlife trafficking,” Steele said.
One trader in Kenya is quoted as saying he had 2 000 skins available immediately.
Dr Ewan Macdonald, postdoctoral research fellow at Saïd Business School and co-author of The Link Between Wildlife Trade and the Global Donkey Skin Product Network, said the research has, for the first time, shown a scientific link between the wider wildlife trade and donkey skin sales.
“We are delighted it is helping shine a light on this issue,” Macdonald said.
– CAJ News