Botswana, Zimbabwe and South African donkey farmers are part of an animal abuse syndicate that trade in donkey parts for medicinal purposes in the Far East.
This emerged Monday when the South African National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) made an urgent appeal for information about donkeys being the “latest victims of the trade in animal parts ‘for medicinal purposes’ to the Far East”.
“This issue is international and syndicated. Police raids in Botswana and Zimbabwe confirm links with this trade to China and Hong Kong,” the NSPCA stated.
The NSPCA also cited a case in which “42 donkeys were stolen in the North West province village of Mmaku”, in South Africa where the “Asian owner of the property where the bodies of the donkeys were found has admitted to stealing the donkeysÔÇÜ slaughtering and skinning them and claiming that ‘they make good medicine’.”
The Bloemfontein SPCA has also been investigating the case of “70 sickÔÇÜ weak and emaciated donkeys on a plot outside the city”, whose owner “stated that he was only interested in the skins to export to China”.
“According to workersÔÇÜ the donkeys had been on the property for two weeks without food or water. Some had aborted and dead foetuses were found on the groundÔÇÜ“ the NSPCA said in a statement. “The donkeys were humanely euthanized and criminal charges in terms of the Animals Protection Act have been laid.”
The NSPCA said: “Donkey hide contains gelatine, which is claimed to be valued for medicinal purposes … having anti-ageing propertiesÔÇÜ able to treat insomnia and improving blood circulation”.
“The gelatine is a key ingredient in China’s ejiao industryÔÇÜ which produces tabletsÔÇÜ tonics and a sweet syrupÔÇÜ“ it added. “The skins are soaked and stewed to produce or release this substance.