The National Council of SPCAs is 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.

In one confirmed instance, 42 donkeys were stolen in the North West province village of Mmaku. The Asian owner of the property where the bodies of the donkeys were found has admitted to stealing the donkeys, slaughtering and skinning them and claiming that “they make good medicine.”

The Bloemfontein SPCA investigated an issue involving 70 sick, weak and emaciated donkeys on a plot outside the city. According to workers, the donkeys had been on the property for two weeks without food or water. Some had aborted and dead foetuses were found on the ground. The owner of the donkeys stated that he was only interested in the skins to export to China. The donkeys were humanely euthanased and criminal charges in terms of the Animals Protection Act have been laid.

Donkey hide contains a gelatine which is claimed to be valued for medicinal purposes: – according to the China Daily newspaper, having anti-aging properties, able to treat insomnia and improving blood circulation. The gelatine is a key ingredient in China’s ejiao industry, which produces tablets, tonics and a sweet syrup. The skins are soaked and stewed to produce or release this substance.

Over and above the horrendous cruelty to the donkeys, it is noted that individuals and communities are suffering as their livelihoods and often their only means of transportation are being taken from them or purchased for money.

This issue is international and syndicated. Police raids in Botswana and Zimbabwe confirm links with this trade to China and Hong Kong.

An urgent appeal is made: – anyone with information of any kind may contact the NSPCA via You may remain anonymous but the more information you are able to give, the more helpful it will be in tracking down and bringing to justice those involved in this despicable, horrendous and cruel trade.

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