Egypt’s export of donkeys to China is endangering the population – which has fallen by half since 2010 – such that the beast could be extinct in Egypt within 20 years.
The donkey trade with China is perfectly legal. But because a donkey hide is more valuable than the live animal, the illegal slaughter of donkeys has increased, and a black market has formed.
According to Howida El-Hadary, country manager of the Egyptian Society for the Protection and Welfare of Working Animals (ESPWWA), Chinese pharmaceuticals and food and beverage companies have been getting their supply of hides from African markets to extract donkey-hide gelatin, which is used in face creams and blood tonic to treat people with anemia, low blood cell count or reproductive issues.
As Eeyore would have said, “I might have known. After all, one can’t complain. I have my friends. Somebody spoke to me only yesterday. And was it last week or the week before that Rabbit bumped into me and said ‘Bother!’ The Social Round. Always something going on.”