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Plea to stop donkey trade

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"Horrendous trade" needs to be brought to its knees

NSPCA calls trade in donkey products to stop. Picture: Mark Hutchinson

FOLLOWING numerous reports about the illegal trade in donkey skin, as well as the cruel slaughter methods, during the last few months, including in the Northern Cape, the National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) has made an urgent call for the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to intervene and stop the export of donkeys and donkey skins and products from South Africa.

The NSPCA said yesterday that South Africa should be a “forward thinking” country – “not following the rest of Africa, but leading” – and called for the “horrendous trade” to brought to its knees.

The NSPCA has issued several reports on the illegal donkey skin trade and the cruelty involved in the horrific slaughter methods.

“Donkeys are being stolen from rural families who rely on their working animals to transport water and firewood. Our donkeys are in crisis and their owners suffer. Yet unlike other African countries, including Botswana, Burkina Faso, Niger, Senegal, Mali, Ethiopia and Gambia, who have taken progressive steps to address the growing problem on the continent, the South African government appears to be unperturbed by the plight of animals and communities, and leaves humane intervention to welfare organisations,” NSPCA spokesperson, Grace de Lange, said yesterday.

The NSPCA is concerned that the trade in donkey skins is escalating and more and more animals are falling victim to this crime.

“The NSPCA has successfully finalised prosecution cases as well as pending cases in court against perpetrators for the cruel transportation and slaughter of donkeys for their skins,” Le Grange said.

She said that the NSPCA therefore made an “urgent call” on the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to intervene and stop the export of donkeys and donkey skins and products from South Africa.

Earlier this year a “horrific donkey killing site”, where hundreds of donkeys were bludgeoned and skinned alive, was uncovered in Olifantshoek in the Northern Cape, sparking world-wide action being taken on the issue of donkeys being killed for their skins for the Chinese ejiao trade.