The Donkey Sanctuary, a UK-based Civil Society organization has called on the government of Ghana and local authorities in the northern region to halt the trade in donkey skins.
The Donkey Sanctuary expressed fears with the continued killing of donkeys in Ghana and other West African countries for production of ejiao.
The Sanctuary fears that if the production of Ejiao, a Chinese product that boosts the human immune system and makes people young continues, it could result in donkeys becoming extinct if governments failed to halt it.
It urges Ghana to emulate the stand of Burkina Faso and Niger governments who banned the slaughter and export of donkeys for their skins.
Figures from the government of Ghana backed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reveal that the population of donkeys in Ghana stands at 14,800.
This indicates that the donkey population is very low and even though globally there is large number of donkeys they are not protected.
These donkeys, according to the Donkey Sanctuary, provide various services to society and also contribute significantly to Ghana’s economy.
Research estimate net economic value is up to 2,272 dollars per year in Kenya and Ethiopia, with net incomes averaging 330 dollars for donkeys who have worked in their life time for 20 years.
Figures also show that between four and ten million donkeys will need to die every year in order to meet the demands for ejiao, a demand that the Donkey Sanctuary believes is unsustainable and yet causing large scale suffering of donkeys and risking the livelihoods of million people who depend on donkeys.
Speaking to Zaa News in Tamale, the head of programs at the Donkey Sanctuary, Mr. Alex Mayers expressed worry about the stealing, slaughtering and skinning overnight of donkeys which is impoverishing locals who use donkeys on their daily economic activities.
Mr Mayers revealed that one of the largest China-based enterprises, Dong’e which has over 10,000 workers process in excess of one million skins annually.
He quoted the China Agriculture Authority as saying that donkey numbers have reduced drastically from 11 million in 1990 to 5.4 million in 2016. An estimated 10 million Chinese demand annually with global demand of 1.8 million per annum.
However, Mr Mayers observed that Ghana’s biggest problem is that all donkeys are used, no donkey is spared. But the Donkey Sanctuary say they are concerned about moves to wipe out donkeys in communities who need them most.
It is not only China that the trade is going on. We are not saying China is the only country that are into the trade but the trade is also Vietnam and Australia, Mr Mayer’s explained.