Sunday, March 3, 2024

Africa and Brazil move to halt donkey trade, hurting supply of Chinese herbal medicines

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Donkeys are stubbornly difficult to breed, with gestation periods lasting more than a year, and any impediment to China’s imports of their skins could put further pressure on the burgeoning Yijao industry.

Last month, the number of members increased to 55. african union It supported a report calling for a 15-year ban on the slaughter of donkeys and the export of their skins.


Foods containing traditional Chinese medicine become a new trend among young Chinese

Foods containing traditional Chinese medicine become a new trend among young Chinese

The report’s recommendations will be submitted to the AU Summit of Heads of State and Government for adoption in February.

African countries such as Tanzania and Ivory Coast have already banned the trade in donkey skins, and Kenya closed four Chinese-owned donkey slaughterhouses in 2020 due to an increase in theft.

“this [approval] This is extremely important to African communities and to donkeys, who are subjected to untold cruelty due to the insatiable demand for their skins,” said Raphael Kinoti, regional director of animal charity Brooke East Africa. Ta.

“We are pleased that the Commission has recognized the socio-economic contribution of donkeys to African livelihoods, and we encourage all African countries to respect this decision and enter into this transaction to protect this important natural heritage site and the livelihoods it supports.” I hope it will be discontinued.”

on the other hand, Brazila bill banning the slaughter of donkeys and horses was recently passed by the Agriculture and Environment Committees and will be referred to the Assembly’s Constitution and Judiciary Committees.
Brazil is one of them China’s largest market Donkey skins are popular, but the animal also has cultural significance for Brazilians.

“Due to its historical significance, the donkey has become a symbol of national struggle, strength and resistance. [country’s] It integrates the Brazilian imaginary and constitutes a true historical and cultural heritage, Brazilian parliamentarian Nilt Tat said at a meeting of the Environment Committee in Brasilia.

Demand for Yijiao has been rapidly increasing in China in recent years. Photo: AFP

“We voted to approve this bill because of the benefits to donkeys, the health and biological safety of the Brazilian people, and the history of our country’s culture,” Tutt said.

The bans in Brazil and Africa will effectively cut off supplies from the two biggest markets for trade. The Donkey Sanctuary, a UK-based charity, hopes this will encourage the Ejao industry to look for sustainable, cruelty-free alternatives.

Donkey Sanctuary campaign manager Sian Edwards said countries with large donkey populations were targeted by the Yijao industry. This includes African countries, Latin American countries, and even Australia, where wild donkeys live.

“A conservative estimate is that there are approximately 4.8 million donkeys. [each year] They are slaughtered to supply the skins that the industry needs to sell ejiao,” Edwards said.

China’s demands are donkey skin In order to satisfy the voracious appetite for Yijiao, it may not only create a shortage within the country, but also encourage illegal trade in other countries.

Africa is home to about two-thirds of the world’s donkeys. Ethiopia is said to be the “donkey country of the world” with more than 10 million donkeys. Sudan and Pakistan are also two of the world’s leading donkey producers.

Demand for herbal medicines fuels illegal trade in African donkeys

Meanwhile, the Chinese herbal medicine market increased from 19.6 billion yuan in 2013 to 53.5 billion yuan (approximately 7.5 billion US dollars) in 2020, according to data from the Shandong Yijiao Industry Association.

Associate Professor Lauren Johnston, from the Center for China Studies at the University of Sydney, said donkeys were a means of social and physical transportation for some of Africa’s poorest and remotest regions.

“Mothers who own donkeys often work off-farm and raise their children because they can earn more money off-farm and can do more household chores more efficiently. We can send them to school,” Johnston said.

But when donkeys are stolen or become unaffordable due to inflation, it is poor people, especially women and girls, who suffer the most.

Another problem, Johnston said, is that donkeys don’t breed quickly, so if a donkey wears out, there’s no quick way to replace it.

He said some experts believe that China’s high consumption rate is not only jeopardizing the supply of donkeys destined for Ejiao, but also their traditional use as working animals for poor and geographically marginalized people. He said he believes the availability of donkeys for this role is completely at risk.

Research conducted by Johnston for the South African Institute of International Affairs found that China needs more than 5 million donkeys a year (about 10% of the world’s donkey population) to meet demand for Ejao. did.

However, research shows that only about 2 million skins have been collected from China’s domestic donkey population. Of the roughly 3 million skins the company imports each year, 25 to 35 percent are from stolen animals, mostly from small-scale farmers who need animals to transport their crops.

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