The Donkey Sanctuary, the largest equine charity in the world, has applauded efforts by the Nigerian government to outright outlaw the slaughter of donkeys and the export of their skins.

What this means
The organization will also soon publish a report on donkey farming that explains why rearing donkeys is neither a sustainable option nor a way to prevent the extinction of these animals due to the worldwide skin trade in some nations.

The violent and terrible conditions that are a characteristic of this industry cause donkeys to suffer at every stage of the worldwide skin trade process, from the source to the killing. Even the most helpless donkeys, such as pregnant mares, tiny foals, and sick or damaged animals, are abducted and traded without any sort of protection.

The Donkey Sanctuary’s Director of Advocacy and Campaigns, Ian Cawsey, stated: “Nigeria joins other nations in taking action to protect their national herds as they witness the terrible effects of the donkey skin trade.

“However, in order to offer a secure and long-lasting solution, it is crucial that government measures adhere to scientific research. Arguments for creating a controlled donkey farming solution may sound alluring, but science demonstrates that this is not a realistic course of action given the various challenges of donkey farming and the few numbers that breeding would yield.

Why this matters
The Donkey Sanctuary will continue to speak up for donkeys under threat from the skin trade; we will ensure that governments have all the facts, which overwhelmingly show that this trade is unsustainable, will deplete donkey numbers and is increasingly linked to criminality and the illegal wildlife trade.”

Donkeys have been an essential part in maintaining societies for thousands of years, most frequently as low-value working animals. However, as ejiao, a traditional Chinese medicine whose main component is collagen from a donkey’s skin, has become more and more popular in recent years, their worth as a commodity has soared.

According to the charity’s research on donkey farming, breeding donkeys in sufficient numbers to meet demand has had dismal results, in part because of their lengthy gestation periods and susceptibility to stress, which can impair fertility.

The research has been welcomed by the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources and other members of the Nigerian National Assembly who are seeking to make it illegal to kill donkeys for the skin trade and have used it to combat false information about the feasibility of donkey farming.

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