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Donkey Skin Trade Announcement ©SPANA

Donkey Skin Trade Announcement ©SPANA

ICWE Welcomes Africa's Moratorium On Horrific Donkey Skin Trade

3 months ago

19th February, 2024 17h05


At the 37th Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, over 17-18 February 2024 - assembled heads of state and government agreed to adopt a moratorium on the horrific donkey skin trade. This historic moratorium was secured following the publication of a report supported by the International Coalition for Working Equids (ICWE), made up of Brooke, The Donkey Sanctuary, SPANA (the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad) and World Horse Welfare.

The report, ‘Donkeys in Africa Now and In The Future’, highlighted the alarming decline of the donkey population within Africa due to the donkey skin trade and called for an urgent suspension of the practice. The report also made an important and welcome recognition of working donkeys’ contribution to the livelihoods of communities across Africa. Produced by the African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) with support from ICWE, the report was endorsed by ministers and senior officials of member states in November 2023 at the 5th Ordinary Session of the Specialised Technical Committee (STC) on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment. This paved the way for the recommendations to progress to the next stages of approval.

ICWE is now delighted to confirm that the African Union has acknowledged the importance of taking action and will adopt the moratorium on the donkey skin trade. The African Union will now formalise this decision so it is binding on all Union member states, who in turn will implement the ban at national level through their respective legislative processes.

Dr Raphael Kinoti, Regional Director Brooke East Africa, said: “This is a terrific moment for communities in Africa who have benefitted from donkeys since time immemorial. It is also a great moment for donkeys all over the world and for indigenous African biodiversity conservation. Donkey slaughter for its skin has had many negatives; from eroding livelihoods in Africa to robbing the continent of its culture, biodiversity and identity. We must all applaud AU heads of states for taking these bold and drastic measures for a good cause. We urge all AU members to uphold the decision for the good of all.”

Marianne Steele, CEO, of The Donkey Sanctuary said: “This is a truly pivotal moment in our combined efforts to end the brutal skin trade. Importantly, this outcome recognises, at the highest level of decision-making, the vital importance of donkeys in Africa and around the world. We will continue to work closely with our colleagues and partners to provide all the support and resources we can, to see this commitment become a reality across Africa and the start of a new era for donkey welfare.”

Linda Edwards, Chief Executive of SPANA, said: “This is a historic development for working animal welfare and represents an enormous achievement for ICWE and our partners. The moratorium will save the lives of donkeys across Africa and will also help safeguard the future of the communities they support through their daily work.”

Roly Owers, Chief Executive of World Horse Welfare said: “The African Union’s decision today is a watershed moment and a powerful recognition of the value of donkeys to communities across the continent, indeed across the globe. This moratorium, along with the development of a common position on donkeys and ensuring they are fully included in in national animal resource development policies and plans, will go a long way towards safeguarding the livelihoods of so many. Of course this significant milestone will only benefit donkeys if these decisions are now put in practice and collectively ICWE stands ready to help to do just that.”

Over the last decade, hundreds of thousands of donkeys have been slaughtered for their skins and exported, driven by demand from China for the traditional Chinese medicine; ‘ejiao’. The trade has had a detrimental impact on both the overall donkey population in Africa and the livelihoods of those who depend on them.

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