Animal Farming: Donkeys For Chinese Medicine & Meat; We Must Be Their Voice

by J. Lee

Donkeys Killed For Chinese Medicine and Meat

I recently learned about the slaughter of donkeys. It is estimated 4 million donkeys are killed every year. Their skin is used to make a Chinese medicine named ejiao. The demand is a threat to donkeys worldwide.

It is created by boiling skins to to produce a gelatin. It is also turned into powders, tablets and face creams.

Even though it is thought to have medical benefits many say ejiao has no medicinal value. The market for it is fueled by greed.

The most coveted is produced in Dong’e County (north-eastern Shandong Province) which is located on the left bank of the Yellow River. It is located by a well. The water is used in its production.

The affluent believe ejiao helps improve poor circulation. It is used for various blood conditions. It is believed to boost the immune system. It is marketed as an anti-aging treatment. Some consider it a remedy for insomnia. It is also used for dry coughs.

Donkey meat is also considered a delicacy in some Chinese regions. The most common way it is prepared is as a broth, soup or stew. It can be chopped and stuffed into a layered pastry.

Photo #1 Donkey skins drying in the sun Photo #2 ejiao which is sliced and served


Prior to being killed, donkeys are kept in cramped and filthy pens. Many are deprived of food and water. The end game is their hides. Slaughterhouses have little concern for their welfare.

The process of making ejiao involves hitting a donkey on the head with a sledgehammer. As it lays stunned and alive, it is stabbed. It bleeds to death. It dies a slow and painful death. Sometimes the skinning process is rushed causing it to be skinned alive.

Graphic Video (1:47): Donkeys bashed with sledgehammers and left to die in China 

Graphic Video (:59): Millions of donkeys are killed in China for their skins which are boiled and turned into traditional medicine. 

As you can imagine, the demand is creating a shortage for the poor who depend on donkeys for their livelihood. Chinese farmers depend on donkeys. The demand for them has created a shortage. As with supply and demand, the remaining donkeys are out of the price range of those who need them the most.

  • Stolen donkeys have been reported in Egypt, South Africa and Tanzania.

National Geographic: Rush for Donkey Skins in China Draws Wildlife Traffickers – In high demand for traditional medicine, donkey skins have become a hot commodity on the black market.

  • Hides are exported from Brazil, Mongolia, Afghanistan and Africa.
  • Kenya and Ethiopia have government-sanctioned slaughterhouses.

The Guardian Map – Overview of the Skin Trade

The good news is some countries ban the export of donkeys.

  • Pakistan, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger ban the export of hides.

China’s demand for African donkeys prompts export bans – In a statement released this month the National Council of Societies for the Protection of Animals (NSPCA) said it was “horrified to confirm that donkeys are the latest victims of the trade in animal parts ‘for medicinal purposes’ to the far east. Donkeys are being rounded up, stolen, then transported and brutally slaughtered for their skins.”

BBC: Niger bans the export of donkeys after Asian demand – Niger has banned the export of donkeys, warning that a three-fold increase in trade, mainly to Asian countries, is threatening its donkey population.

It is within your power to choose kindness over cruelty. There is something we all can do. We can support organizations on the front lines, we can become activists, we can contact legislators or sign petitions.

Thanks for caring!


The National Miniature Donkey Association: Donkey Sanctuaries and Rescue Organizations – Help for Donkeys: The wonderful organizations that rescue and care for donkeys need your support!

The Donkey Sanctuary | Animal Welfare Charity – The Donkey Sanctuary is an international animal welfare and rescue charity supporting projects all over the world.


Ban donkey hide exports

STOP selling the donkeys, which are killed!

Amazon and Ebay: Stop Selling Donkey hide gelatin products (Ejiao)

BANNED EJIAO Chinese medicine dubious qualities to SAVE MILLION DONKEY by SKINNED ALIVE

Petition to the Australian Parliament calling upon the Senate to prohibit the live export of ponies, horses and donkeys, once and for all

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