Why are Donkeys facing their biggest ever crisis?

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Why are Donkeys facing their biggest ever crisis?

This petition had 6,582 supporters

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

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.

But the way donkeys are being treated has been criticised.

A British donkey charity and environmental investigative journalists from South Africa-based group Oxpeckers have uncovered cases of animal abuse among those waiting to be killed in appalling conditions.

"This is the biggest crisis donkeys have ever faced," said Mike Baker from The Donkey Sanctuary, which is leading an international campaign to halt the trade in donkey products until it can be properly regulated.

"We are seeing millions being taken and we are seeing suffering on the scale I have never witnessed before.

A mound of donkey carcasses dumped in Botswana after the animals' flesh was removed"We are talking about donkeys being starved to death to make it easier to skin them, or bludgeoned to death."

But Mr Baker says the international pressure is starting to have an impact.

Countries including Uganda, Tanzania, Botswana, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Senegal have banned China from buying their donkey products.

"Over a dozen governments have now taken action to stop this trade, and that's because they know this is impoverishing their people as well as being massively cruel to animals," Mr Baker says.

Please help to STOP this cruel trade

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