The Donkey Sanctuary and Ethiopian Government commit to safeguarding national donkey herd

The Donkey Sanctuary and Ethiopian Government commit to safeguarding national donkey herd

Experts from Ethiopia and the UK gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia last week (Thursday 29 November) to discuss how to protect Ethiopia’s national donkey herd from the global trade in donkey skins

 

Ethiopia is home to the world’s largest population of donkeys, and has been identified as a valuable source of donkey skin supply which is used in the manufacture of the Traditional Chinese Medicine, ‘ejiao.’ The skins are boiled to extract collagen which is the main ingredient of the remedy.

 

Moves by the ejiao industry to establish donkey slaughterhouses in Ethiopia were met with substantial public opposition and the export trade for skins has faltered.

 

Opening the event, Dr Sahlu Mulu, Special Adviser to the Agriculture Minister said on behalf of the government: “The purpose of the forum is to engage and bring together all key stakeholders at an early stage in discussions in order to fully understand and identify all potential opportunities and challenges the trade presents in order to encourage a full and thorough analysis of political, economic, social, cultural and environmental impacts.

 

“And integral to these discussions is the need for an assurance that our national donkey herd is protected. The livelihoods and the futures of the poorest Ethiopians will be threatened if we do not meet this goal.”

  

Mike Baker, CEO, The Donkey Sanctuary said: “There is a cultural connection that exists between Ethiopia’s donkeys and its people, which is not found anywhere else in the world. This has to be preserved and cannot be put at risk by the uncertain financial expectations of the donkey skin trade. Donkeys provide a lifeline of independence and income for millions of Ethiopians and we cannot afford to put that at risk at any price.”

 

Expert speakers included Dr Getachew Mulugeta, who warned the donkey skin trade is a ticking time bomb if immediate action is not taken to ensure effective biosecurity measures.

 

The seminar took place on the day that a new investigation revealed shocking evidence of an illegal cross-border trade in donkeys between Ethiopia and Kenya. The findings, published by Oxpeckers Investigative Environmental Journalism and funded by The Donkey Sanctuary, revealed that donkeys are being poached in Ethiopia before enduring a 250km journey in an arid environment, through difficult terrain with no water and scarce feeding, to the Moyale cross-border cities.

  

The full report can be viewed here - https://oxpeckers.org/2018/11/kenya-donkey-crisis/ (note that this report contains a graphic image).

 

The Ethiopian Government have committed to forming a multi stakeholder technical working group in order to fully understand and identify all potential opportunities and challenges the trade presents in order to encourage a full and thorough analysis of political, economic, social, cultural and environmental impacts.