Shocking video footage of conditions at a compound in Brazil that holds donkeys bound for slaughter for the Chinese ejiao trade has emerged.
» Earlier article: From Africa to South America: Brazil joins horror donkey skin trade
Footage of dead and dying donkeys, including pregnant mares and foals, has been released by international animal welfare charity The Donkey Sanctuary, showing that the international trade in donkey skins that started in Africa is stretching far further.
Donkey skins are boiled and the gelatin extracted to produce ejiao, an increasingly popular traditional Chinese medicine.
The footage, taken at a slaughterhouse compound in the town of Itapetinga, in Bahia state in Brazil, shows hundreds of donkeys being kept in appalling conditions. Graphic images include the carcasses of donkeys and aborted foals dumped in a local river.
On receiving the initial reports, The Donkey Sanctuary mobilised a team from the UK, including a vet, to Brazil to work with its partners, the National Donkey Taskforce, to investigate the animal welfare conditions at other sites in the state. The team also held meetings with government officials and experts in an urgent effort to address the situation.
Brazilian charity SOS animais de rua Itapetinga filmed the distressing scenes and after widespread public anger in Brazil, authorities closed the facility down. But just this week new footage from another compound in Itapetinga was released, once again showing dead and dying donkeys.
The Donkey Sanctuary is now calling for an immediate suspension of the trade in Brazil until it can be shown to be both humane and sustainable.
The Donkey Sanctuary’s campaigns manager Simon Pope described what he had seen happening to donkeys in Brazil as “inhumane and sickening”.
He said the Bahia case was not just a one-off incident, and new evidence suggested it is “a serial and ongoing problem”.
“Our suspicions that slaughterhouses have supply-pens where starving, scared donkeys are awaiting their fate has now been proved – twice in the space of two months. Urgent action must be taken to address donkey welfare throughout the supply chain from the point the animals are sourced to when they are slaughtered.”
He said the trade had moved faster than the laws needed to keep it in check. “New regulations need to be brought in as a matter of urgency and existing laws should be enforced so that existing measures to protect animal welfare are used to the full – until this is done the trade needs to be suspended.”
Animal welfare supporters in Brazil are holding a second protest against the trade across 14 states on November 25.
Earlier article: From Africa to South America: Brazil joins horror donkey skin trade