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These gentle animals are killed for one reason: so that their skins can be sold to leading pharmaceutical companies in China, where they are boiled down to make gelatine for ejiao, a traditional Chinese "medicine" believed to improve blood circulation.
While some countries, such as Pakistan and 10 African nations, have closed Chinese-funded slaughterhouses and developed policies to ban the export of donkey skins to China, the Australian government has revealed that it plans to capitalise on China's demand for donkey skins and has received some enquiries about the export of equines for slaughter. Meanwhile, Hancock Prospecting and Wellard are working to begin exporting live cattle to China.
At every farm visited by PETA Asia's observer, donkeys were stuck in small, filthy concrete-floored pens. The only water available to them was filthy and green with algae.
At a donkey market, hundreds of doomed animals forced to wait in crowded pens in the full summer sun for their turn to be bought and sent to slaughter. Terrified donkeys were beaten with sticks, including one who was hit and screamed at when she attempted to escape through a gate that was left open.
At the end of their dreadful existence, they are killed in the most inhumane ways. Some of the donkeys continue to breathe and move after being bludgeoned and having their throats cut.
Today, the market is growing rapidly. Donkeys are now being imported into China from other countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and South America for slaughter in order to meet the demand. Read more about the ejiao trade here.
What You Can Do
The Northern Territory government exports donkey hides to China to fuel the cruel ejiao trade and may consider expanding this business by implementing a live-donkey export industry. Please urge Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie to reject any plans to send live donkeys to be slaughtered in China immediately.