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22nd November - Humane Society International calls for ban of donkey skin trade from Australia as shocking welfare issues expose      



November 22, 2017

‚ÄčPoint of clarification: RSPCA South Australia has visited the property at Mt Compass several times and issued an animal welfare notice. Compliance with this notice is being monitored to see if additional enforcement action is required.

Humane Society International is calling for an end to donkey skin exports from Australia, warning that the animals may be facing horrendous welfare conditions at properties across the country in business ventures aimed at feeding the trade in China for the gelatin produced from donkey hides.

Reports yesterday exposed that attempts to address the welfare of dozens of near-abandoned donkeys on a property in Mount Compass, Adelaide had fallen on deaf ears, with locals complaining to the RSPCA and Department of Primary Industries in South Australia for almost a year. Within that time, neighbours witnessed the euthanasia of nine of the donkeys at the property.

“We believe that this shocking case of neglect unfortunately will not be an isolated incident. If donkey farms are being established by foreign investors in order to fuel the demand for the animals’ hides in China, this could create serious animal welfare issues both in Australia and around the world,” said Georgie Dolphin, Humane Society International’s Program Manager for Animal Welfare.

Donkey skins are used in the production of ejiao, a gelatin-based traditional Chinese medicine of dubious benefit. Demand for the product is leading to a global population decline of donkeys, with China now slaughtering up to 11 million animals per year to sustain the market out of a global donkey population of just 44 million.

As donkey populations have plummeted in China, importers have looked elsewhere, including to Australia, to fuel the demand.

“As a species, donkeys are highly unsuitable for farming so if this trade is being established they would not only face terrible welfare conditions, but also a cruel and inhumane death just to fuel Chinese ejiao production. Australia should not be involved in exporting any donkeys to China for this vicious trade. If Australia bans the export of donkey skins, it will prevent more donkeys from suffering similar neglect at the hands of a trade that shows no mercy to these animals, whether before or during their slaughter,” Ms Dolphin continued.

It is believed the donkeys on the property in Mount Compass were intended for live export as part of a trade deal with China which fell through. The donkeys on the property were frequently given hay to eat, which is not a part of their diet, and were also forced to drink from a shallow, dirty water hole.

Humane Society International is calling on the South Australian Government to act in relation to the abandoned donkeys suffering on the property in Mount Compass, and also to ban donkey farms for export purposes from its state.

If you aware of any donkeys that could be in a similar situation to the Mount Compass donkeys, please contact Humane Society International on 1800 333 737.


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