Breaking Victory! African Union Bans Donkey-Skin Trade

Posted on by Abigail Forsyth

In a historic victory for donkeys following a push from several animal protection groups, the African Union has banned the cruel donkey-skin trade! This decision, made at an African Union summit in Ethiopia on Sunday, means that it will now be illegal to slaughter donkeys for their skin anywhere on the continent.

The animals’ skin was being exported to China, where it’s used to make a “medicine” called ejiao, which the National Health and Family Planning Commission of the People’s Republic of China warned is just “boiled donkey skin.” Ejiao is also found in some cosmetics, candy, and energy drinks.

This monumental win follows a years-long campaign against ejiao by PETA entities and a coalition of animal protection groups in and outside Africa. PETA’s eye-opening investigation into a donkey slaughterhouse in Kenya—which revealed that workers bashed sick and injured donkeys over the head with sledgehammers and slit their throats—ignited global outrage. Many countries—including Botswana, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda—either banned the export of donkey skin or closed down Chinese-owned slaughterhouses. But donkeys were still being sent on grueling days-long journeys to slaughterhouses in Kenya and Nigeria, countries where the trade was still legal. Animal advocates kept up the pressure, and hundreds of thousands of PETA supporters e-mailed officials. Now, the African Union’s decision will slam this loophole closed.


In 2017, a first-of-its-kind PETA investigation into donkey farms in China revealed that animals were confined to cramped and filthy pens with concrete floors and that many were seen standing in their own waste. Donkeys were forced to stand in the hot sun and were beaten with sticks at a market and bashed over the head with a sledgehammer before their throats were slit at a slaughterhouse.

In addition to inflicting unimaginable suffering on gentle donkeys, the ejiao trade was decimating Africa’s donkey population. PETA is now urging all African Union member nations to strictly enforce the ban.

What You Can Do

Thank you to everyone who helped secure this vital win. You can continue to help by refusing to purchase products made with ejiao. Look out for ingredients such as “donkey oil,” “donkey-hide gelatin,” “donkey hide,” “donkey glue,” or “ass-hide glue.” No matter how it’s presented, the source is still the same. And for every product that harms animals, there is always a kinder option.