Chinese demand for donkeys could wipe out the species

The donkey meat and hide industry is said to be worth millions of dollars and China is increasingly looking to Africa to satisfy demand after its own donkey population dropped sharply.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Illegally obtained gelatine from South African donkey hides and hooves is used in traditional Chinese remedies Illegally obtained gelatine from South African donkey hides and hooves is used in traditional Chinese remedies.

China is the world's biggest consumer of donkey meat and is looking for additional supplies. The gelatin found in the animals' skin has made them a target, leading to a growing wave of donkey slaughtering in several African countries, as gangs seek to fuel a lucrative, and in South Africa illegal, trade.

The donkey-hide gelatin has no commercial value in Africa but is highly sought after in China as an ingredient for traditional medicine to treat health problems such as anaemia and menopause-linked ailments.

Hooves also contain gelatin, while the meat, consumed in parts of China, is believed to be more nutritious than beef and is enjoyed in burgers or stewed.

TRT World's John-Allan Namu reports from Naivasha, Kenya.

Source: 
TRTWorld and agencies