British retailer TK Maxx has removed a beauty product from its shelves that lists ‘donkey oil’ as one of the ingredients.
TK Maxx moved to take Elizavecca Donkey Creamy Cleansing Melting Cream off its shelves after equine charity Brooke pointed out the welfare issues behind donkey products.
The company prides itself on its responsible sourcing and trading, and a spokesperson said: “We appreciate that this issue was brought to our attention. We take matters of this nature seriously and have instructed our stores to remove this product from sale.
“A typical store receives several deliveries a week with each delivery containing thousands of items, so the occasional error may occur but we always act quickly to put things right.”
In recent months the spotlight has been on the trade in donkey skins for use in traditional Chinese remedies.
Donkeys, particularly in poorer countries, are at risk of being stolen and slaughtered for the gelatinous substance in their skin, a key ingredient in a medicine called ejiao.
Ejiao, once the preserve of China’s emperors and other elites, is now a luxury 21st-century product which the charity says is promoted, sold and delivered worldwide.
It is estimated that if the trade continues, the donkey population, particularly in Africa, could fall by 21,000 animals a year.
The Elizavecca product is readily available on Amazon and eBay.
Brooke, a UK based charity which protects and improves the lives of working horses, donkeys and mules in developing countries, said around 400 donkeys in Kenya alone are being killed every day.
The charity’s head of communications, Rachel Bhageerutty, said Brooke was pleased that TK Maxx listened to animal welfare concerns and took swift action.
“Donkeys throughout the world, especially Africa, are being stolen and often killed in cruel and brutal ways to make products like these that are being sold in the UK. Retailers and consumers should be aware of the stories behind these so-called beauty products.
“Brooke is tackling the theft in the most affected communities, and working to tackle the wider issues at a Government level on a country by country basis. Something must be done – at the rate donkeys are being killed, in just 20 years’ time the donkeys in these areas may all be gone.”