Reading Time: < 1 minute The eyewitnesses captured animal abuse on camera (Photo: PETA)
Reading Time: < 1 minute

A newly released video exposé reveals the dark side of the Chinese trade in donkey skins.

The investigation, by vegan charity PETA, shows what the organization describes as ‘horrific [animal] abuse in government-sanctioned abattoirs in Mogotio and Naivasha, Kenya’.


Donkey skins are boiled down to be used in drinks, sweets, and a traditional Chinese medicine called ejiao.

According to PETA, the ejiao industry annually produces over 4,500 tonnes of products containing the ingredient, and uses some 4 million donkey hides each year – half of which are imported into China from other countries, including Kenya, which has opened three new donkey abattoirs in the last three years alone in order to cater to this trade.

The charity says donkeys are ‘packed onto lorries and taken to the abattoirs from as far away as neighbouring countries – and the journey from the border with Ethiopia can take two days’. They are not given water or food during this time, with some dying as a result.

GRAPHIC: PETA’s video investigation

Animal suffering

The videos shows workers violently beating donkeys, who were crammed together so tightly that they could barely move. PETA Asia eyewitnesses say they say one donkey – who was so badly injured that she was unable to stand – dragged from a lorry, dumped on the ground, and kicked.

“While abattoirs cash in on the Chinese desire for ejiao, gentle donkeys are being tortured and killed,” PETA Director, Elisa Allen, said in a statement sent to Plant Based News.

“PETA calls on all kind people around the world to think of the terrified donkeys who suffer and die for the gelatine made from their skins and to refuse to buy any item that contains it.”

Maria Chiorando

Maria is a news and features writer for Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle. She was previously the editor of Plant Based News for over 3 years.