They name it "Ejiao" and glorify it as a cure of miracle: In the developing middle class of China, gelatine gotten from donkey skin is really making sales. To be able to meet the demand at cheap prices, most of the animal fur is shipped from Africa, thereby leading to a dramatic reduction in the population of donkeys in Africa!

Nearly five million animals are skinned every year in the Eastern part of Africa for export. It is not a sustainable business and is only geared towards profit making. Based on the research by the Austrian courier, there is now even a risk of total extermination of the donkey population in the world.

(Photo : Leroy Huckette)

The Black Gelatin 

"Ejiao" which is also called "black gelatin", is a supposed cure produced from the skin of donkeys. This "Ejiao" is boiled down into a constituent in medicines, sweets and cosmetics. The supposed remedy should make your skin beautiful, act as a sexual enhancer, and also contribute to a healthy sleep. The sales market for this supposed remedy has been flourishing for years, and it will be hard to meet the demand.

Only in 2017, the number of wealthy people in China has increased and still increasing as 53 new billionaires joined China, while "since the 1990s, the population of donkeys in East Africa has reduced from eleven million to less than two and a half million," according to the courier.

Problem: Since the pregnancy of a donkey lasts twelve months on an average, it is not possible for breeding farms to produce offspring quickly enough.

And: Countries in East Africa such as Tanzania and Kenya provide a large part of the nearly five million skins that are needed by China each year to manufacture its "miracle cure". However, as a result of the mass export, the prices of donkeys have risen in the countries that are believed to be livestock and an important means of transportation. 

ALSO READ: Is Donkey Skin the New Ivory? African Donkeys are Being Slaughtered to Extinction

Major Problem For Agriculture and Population 

This in turn is believed to be a major problem for the agriculture and population in East African countries such as Kenya, as stated by the courier. The situation in Kenya is even more disastrous as the government of Kenya has made it known that it will stop the exportation of donkeys. In most countries in Africa, which includes Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania, the brutal slaughter is now prohibited.

However, thieves stole and killed the freed four-legged friends in order to skin them and sell their skin on the black market. A kilogram of "Ejiao" is presently worth 350 euros and companies in China keep buying.

(Photo : Leroy Huckette)

Demand for Donkey Skins 

The demand for donkey skins from China resulted in 15% of the donkey population, almost 400,000 donkeys were killed between 2016 and 2018.

It is stated that ejiao, the black gelatine produced from soaking and boiling skin of donkeys and also used in Chinese traditional medicine, can increase libido, supplement lost blood, treat side effects of chemotherapy, delay ageing, prevent infertility, menstrual and miscarriage irregularity. 

RELATED ARTICLE: Killing for 'Medicine': Rise in China's Demand for Donkey Skin Threatens Local Livelihood

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