BEIJING – Thousands of donkeys were confined in farms under unhealthy conditions, tortured and slaughtered in China to extract expensive ingredients for traditional medicine, animal rights organization PETA said on Wednesday after conducting undercover investigation at slaughterhouses.
In a video shot clandestinely by the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, images of five such farms were released showing that the donkeys were hit, their heads bashed with a sledgehammer and then skinned.
These farms extract a gelatin named ejiao from the donkey skin, a substance believed in Chinese traditional medicine to improve the blood flow that is sold at a price of up to $378 per kilogram in the Chinese market.
“Donkeys as young as 5 months old in the ejiao trade have been bashed in the head and die a slow, agonizing death, all for a bogus ingredient,” says PETA Asia media officer Keith Guo.
“PETA is calling on kind people everywhere to reject ejiao, choose cruelty-free foods and medicines, and encourage their friends and family members to do the same,” the activist added.
Ejiao has been in high demand in China in recent years that farms from other parts of the world – including the Middle East, South America, Africa and Asia – have raised donkeys to supply it to China.
Some countries have seen a huge decrease of donkey population due to the demand, leading to the closure of donkey slaughterhouses and the ban on export of donkey skin to China in Pakistan and some African countries.