PRESS RELEASE from The Donkey Sanctuary
Shocking footage of conditions at a Kenyan donkey slaughterhouse, captured on video by staff from Donkey Sanctuary Kenya and the Kenya Society for the Protection of Animals (KSPCA), has resulted in its closure by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries.
The footage, described by animal welfare experts as ‘sickening’, shows dead or dying donkeys lying in filth and being eaten alive by maggots, as well as dead, skinned donkeys left alongside other donkeys waiting for slaughter.
The slaughterhouse in Naivasha was opened in November 2016 in response to huge demand for skins from China, where they are processed into a traditional medicinal and cosmetic product called ejiao.
In a letter to the company behind the slaughterhouse (Star Brilliant Ltd) Kenya’s Director of Veterinary Services cited the prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act Cap. 360, stating that the slaughterhouse had committed an offence of cruelty when it ‘..skinned the dead donkeys in the presence of other live donkeys.’ and also when it slaughtered an animal in sight of other animals awaiting slaughter.
Kenya has helped facilitate the trade in donkey skins by licencing slaughterhouses funded and/or owned by Chinese investors which supply the demand for skins. Star Brilliant processes 200 donkeys a day through the slaughterhouse. Recent media reports in Kenya linked an outbreak of African Horse Sickness in the vicinity of the slaughterhouse to the large numbers of donkeys being moved into the region prior to their slaughter.
Mike Baker, CEO of The Donkey Sanctuary said; ‘The footage we have obtained is sickening and distressing. The Director of Veterinary Services is to be praised for acting so swiftly to end this abuse.’
‘This is further evidence of how the mass trade in donkey skins is driving suffering for donkeys on a huge scale. We’re calling on governments across Africa and the world to follow the example of the many governments already taking action to halt the trade.’
While Africa is a focus for donkey skin traders, demand is so great that countries round the world are being targeted. The Donkey Sanctuary is calling for a halt to the trade in donkey skins to produce ejiao until the impact of the trade can be assessed and shown to be both humane for donkeys and sustainable for the communities that depend on them.
In order to achieve this, The Donkey Sanctuary is working with partners around the world to monitor and lobby against the skin trade due to both its unsustainability and animal welfare implications. You can read more about what The Donkey Sanctuary is doing to combat the trade alongside its partners worldwide here thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk/under-the-skin