Here’s another problem that the Chinese are creating for animals. Is there any animal these hungry bastards won’t eat?
Excerpt from the BBC
The world’s donkeys are facing a population crisis because of the huge demand for their skins in China, where they are used to make health foods and traditional medicine.
Donkey meat is also a popular food, but a huge drop in the number of Chinese donkeys and the fact they are slow to reproduce, has forced suppliers to look elsewhere.
Africa has been badly hit because the animals are such an important part of life for transport and farming – particularly in poorer communities.
In many places the price of a donkey has doubled in the past few years, and as thieves cash in, families are left unable to afford a new animal.
‘I woke up and my donkey was gone’
Water deliveryman Anthony Maupe Wanyama, 29, from Kenya had his donkey Carlos for four years and was doing well.
“I bought land up-country, bought a house, paid school fees and looked after my family,” said the father of two.
He and his donkey were such a part of life in Ongata Rongai, just outside Nairobi, that Anthony’s nickname is “Carlos”.
“I woke up one morning and Carlos was missing. I looked around the area, and then found him dead, his skin had been removed,” said Anthony, tears rolling down his cheeks as he talked about his much-loved animal.
He now rents another donkey to pull a cart-load of blue plastic jerry cans he uses to deliver water, but has to give the owner half of the three or four dollars he makes on a good day.
Speaking for myself I feel sorry for Anthony. My grandfather loved his mules the way that Anthony loved Carlos. It broke his heart when he had to sell the mules after his big heart attack.
“Now I don’t have enough money. I haven’t paid my rent, I haven’t paid school fees, and I have people who depend on me,” Anthony said.
He can’t afford to buy a new Carlos.
The surge in price and demand in Kenya has been encouraged by three donkey abattoirs, which have opened across the country.
They can each slaughter around 150 animals a day, packing and freezing the meat and salting the skins for export.
At the Star Brilliant Donkey Export Abattoir in Naivasha, the latest arrivals are being dragged onto flat metal scales – they are sold by “live weight”.
They are shot in the head with a bolt gun before their meat and skins are processed.
Chief executive John Kariuki says he was the first in Kenya, and in Africa, to get official permits to open a donkey slaughterhouse.
“Before, there was no market for the donkeys. People used to sell their cows, people used to sell their goats to pay their school fees for the children,” he said.
“But now I find that people in the market are selling donkeys more than cows.
“We are happy with the Chinese, because before there was nothing coming from donkeys, but so many people are benefitting from the donkey now today.”
Chinese buyers monitor the process – making sure everything is properly packed and prepared.
When the skins are boiled, they produce a brown gelatine, which is the essential ingredient in Chinese “ejiao” products – popular health foods and traditional medicines.
BBC News goes on to give the facts behind the Chinese donkey extinction.
1.8m skins are traded every year – according to estimates from UK-based charity The Donkey Sanctuary – but the demand is as high as 10m
China’s donkey population dropped from 11m in 1990 to 3m today, based on government data
Ejiao, the gelatine produced by boiling donkey skins, can sell for up to $388 (£300) per kilo
Uganda, Tanzania, Botswana, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Senegal have banned donkey exports to China