A recently surfaced gruesome video from China has revealed how millions of donkeys, some as young as five months old, are mercilessly killed every year for their skin, which is used in the making of a traditional medicine called ejiao.
Ejiao has become increasingly popular among affluent Chinese people, who believe it helps increase blood circulation and use it for anti-ageing or insomnia treatments.
However, experts on Chinese medicine claimed there are better and more effective alternatives to make ejiao than brutally slaughtering innocent animals.
As PETA wrote in its harrowing exposé, thousands of donkeys are kept in filthy and cramped concrete-floored pens, beaten with sticks at the donkey market, and bashed in the head with a sledgehammer at the slaughterhouse. Workers then slit their throats, even as some donkeys continue to breathe and move.
PETA said they have released the footage to dissuade consumers and highlight the cruel deaths suffered by some of the estimated 1.8 million donkeys killed for their hides each year. The animal rights group said the video showed one of the worst cases of animal brutality in the world.
“In the ejiao trade, donkeys as young as five months old are bashed in the head and die a slow, agonizing death, all for an ingredient no one needs,” said PETA Director of International Programs Mimi Bekhechi. “PETA Asia is calling on kind people everywhere to reject ejiao and encourage their friends and family members to do the same.”
“There is a misconception about ejiao, it is not the most effective medicine to improve blood circulation in spite of its long history in traditional medicine,” explained Dr. Lee Yuming, a doctor of Chinese medicine. He added there are many other options “that are much more effective in improving one’s health, including modern drugs and herbal medicines” that have emerged these days. He also clarified ejiao is not the best treatment, yet people resort to brutal killings of donkeys to make it.
The graphic video showed how the poor animals are mistreated, made to suffer and can even be observed standing in their own feces and urine. Some were so malnourished, injured or ill that they were unable to walk.
The animal rights organization is calling for an international ban on the trade in donkey skins to produce ejiao products, popular in Chinese health foods and traditional medicines, despite modern medical research minimizing its efficacy.
Thumbnail/Banner: Reuters, Aly Song