What is ejiao?
Ejiao or donkey hide glue, is a gelatinous substance, made from boiling the hides of donkeys, which is used in traditional Chinese medicines and beauty products.
Ejiao manufacturers claim the substance has many health benefits, including reducing wrinkles, curing anaemia, boosting energy, enhancing libido, and shrinking tumours. But there is little scientific evidence to support these claims.
The recent growth in the Chinese middle class has led to a surge in consumer demand for ejiao.
What impact is this having on donkeys in countries where SPANA works?
The donkey skins used in the product were previously largely sourced from Chinese farms. But with China’s donkey population dropping from 11 million in 1990 to 5.4 million in 2016, manufacturers are now targeting donkeys from Africa to meet demand. This is having a significant impact in a number of the countries where SPANA works – for instance, Botswana’s donkey population has decreased by 38 per cent in two years.
Donkeys that are sold for their skins are often treated terribly throughout the transport and slaughter process loaded roughly onto cramped, dangerous vehicles, starved, and killed brutally.