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AU bars Nigeria, others from exporting donkey-skin to China

“Donkeys are sensitive and intelligent creatures who deserve protection for their own sakes.’’

• February 21, 2024

The African Union on Sunday imposed a ban on Nigeria and other African countries to stop the exportation of donkey-skin to China.

The union appeared to have bowed to years of pressure from animal rights groups who consistently demanded an end to animal torture.

The ban, which cuts across 55-member states, was announced at the AU Summit in Ethiopia on Sunday.

Animal rights organisations including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have long pressed African leaders to outlaw the killing of donkeys whose skin is shipped to China, where it is boiled to produce gelatine, a vital component of ejiao, a traditional Chinese medicine.

The group said it mounted pressure on Nigeria’s agriculture minister in 2022 to ban the killing of donkeys across the country after it realised that China was still getting a steady shipment of donkey-skin from Nigeria in spite of an existing ban on the trade of donkey skin.

A statement by the group’s vice president, Jason Baker, indicated that donkeys were sensitive beings that should not be subjected to cruel slaughter for the sheer purpose of cooking their skin to make medicine.

“Donkeys are sensitive, smart, social individuals who don’t want to be slaughtered and sliced up for gelatine,” asserted Mr Baker in a statement on Wednesday. 

He commended the African Union leaders for imposing the ban and urged the Nigerian authorities to speedily enforce the decision.

It noted, “PETA applauds the work of animal protection groups and the African Union in this decision and urges the Nigerian government to proceed with the proposed plans to implement a nationwide ban on the slaughter of donkeys in order to ensure that this cruel trade doesn’t continue.”

 An executive of The Donkey Sanctuary, Marianne Steele, praised the decision, saying, “Donkeys are sensitive and intelligent creatures who deserve protection for their own sakes and for the countless communities who rely on them.”

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