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Nov 22, 2019

Persistent Chinese demand for donkey hides is now pushing the animal's population in many countries, including a number in Africa, to the brink of collapse according to a new report by the Donkey Sanctuary.

The skins are used to make gelatin that used in a Chinese medicine known as ejiao. But given the popularity of ejiao and the enormous demand in a market as large as China's, there simply aren't enough donkeys available to supply the ejiao's production requirements.

With the market unable to legitimately supply the 4.8 million hides needed annually to make ejiao, poachers have stepped in to steal donkeys and kill them for their skins. And in most cases, those poachers are taking donkeys from vulnerable subsistence farmers who depend on these animals for their survival.

The bottom line is that this a serious crisis that is worsening, in Africa and throughout the developing world.

Alex Mayers is the former Head of Programmes at the Donkey Sanctuary and one of the co-authors of the organization's latest "Under the Skin" report. He joins Eric & Cobus to discuss the report's findings and why this problem is proving to be so intractable.

NOTE: this interview with Alex was recorded just prior to his departure from the Donkey Sanctuary.

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