eBay responds to Sidmouth’s Donkey Sanctuary welfare concerns over Chinese medicine

The Sidmouth-based Donkey Sanctuary has successfully lobbied eBay to immediately stop selling a traditional Chinese medicine made from donkey skin.

The gelatin contained in ‘ejiao’ is alleged to offer anti-ageing properties – but charity CEO Mike Baker told the auction website its use is an animal welfare disaster with potential consumer health risks.

eBay responded to his letter saying it would immediately stop selling the product.

Mr Baker said: “We’re incredibly grateful to eBay and would like to put on record our sincere thanks to them for their quick response and confirmation that they will no longer be selling ejiao.

“eBay agree with us that products containing ejiao easily fall under several categories of their prohibited and restricted items, for example, ejiao product listings commonly ‘claim the item is intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease in humans’.

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“We hope other online retail sites follow eBay’s lead and immediately suspend all sales of products containing ejiao until the manufacturing origin of these products can be clearly and demonstrably shown to have no negative humanitarian and animal welfare consequences.”

The Donkey Sanctuary has revealed the shocking consequences of the global donkey skin trade that has emerged to meet the demand from the ejiao trade.

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Accorsing to the charity, from Tanzania to Peru, South Africa to Pakistan, donkeys across the world are being stolen and skinned in the night, their carcasses found by distraught owners.

For millions of people in some of world’s poorest communities, donkeys are still the main means of livelihood and sustain families by providing them with an income and independence.

The donkey skin trade is unregulated and some of the claims made about the supposed health benefits of ejiao are unverified – one of the principal reasons for eBay prohibiting its sale.

Many donkeys, possibly hundreds of thousands, are not being slaughtered at licenced slaughterhouses, and will be subjected to non-standard slaughter methods which mean their deaths are protracted and horrendously inhumane.

This informal and unregulated ‘bush slaughter’ raises further concerns about bio-security and disease risk from the unsanitary and unhygienic environment in which the skins are initially processed.

Visit www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk for more information.

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