The Triumph Over the Donkey Skin Trade: A Victory for Animal Welfare

In a remarkable stride toward animal welfare and biodiversity conservation, the African Union (AU) has issued a ban on the damaging donkey skin trade. Spanning the continent of Africa, this mandate heralds the end of legal donkey slaughtering, a practice responsible for decimating hundreds of thousands of donkeys. A paradigm shift driven by relentless lobbying from the global animal welfare organization, Brooke.

The Damaged Donkey Population

Over the past decade, Africa’s donkey population met a catastrophic decline caused by foreign demand. Triggered by the decadent thirst for ejiao in China — a gelatine concocted by boiling donkey skins — the trade led to the eradication of China’s own donkey population. This, in turn, instigated a surge in donkey export industries, predominantly throughout Africa and South America. However, this grim era may finally be drawing to an end.

Ratification of the Donkey Skin Trade

Culminating at the 37th Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 17–18 February 2024, the AU heads of state ratified the export ban amongst several other motions. The proposal was initially recommended by the Specialised Technical Committee for Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment.

Ban Proposal and Support from Brooke

Supporting the ban proposal was the report, Donkeys in Africa Now and In The Future, backed by the African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR). The study provided a stark picture of the dwindling donkey numbers and the consequent negative impact on livelihoods due to the skin trade.

The Brooke’s Significant Role and Future Plans

Brooke played an instrumental role in advocating for this ban, employing concerted lobbying efforts and community mobilization initiatives. The organization's efforts don't end here either. Brooke is committed to partnering with governments and policymakers to ensure the enforcement of the ban. At the same time, they're working towards a global ban to protect donkeys from this horrifying trade worldwide.

As stated by Dr. Raphael Kinoti, Brooke East Africa Regional Director, at the Summit, “This is a terrific moment for communities in Africa who have benefited from donkeys since time immemorial. We urge all AU members to uphold the decision for the good of all."

This landmark decision represents a powerful message sent out to the world. A message of resilience, of relentless advocacy for justice, and a refusal to be silenced in the face of cruelty.

This is indeed a victory to be celebrated. A victory not just for donkeys, but for the African community, biodiversity conservation, and ethical trade. However, the fight is far from over. There's much work to be done, advocating for the complete eradication of the skin trade internationally. The hard-won victory of the AU ban should serve as an encouraging signal, reminding us all that, with collective action, it's possible to champion animal welfare and achieve significant strides toward a more compassionate world.

Source: Horse & Rider Magazine