The Potential for New Donkey Farming Systems to Supply the Growing Demand for Hides
School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, University of Reading, Reading RG6 6AR, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 18 February 2020 / Revised: 24 March 2020 / Accepted: 9 April 2020 / Published: 20 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Equids
The demand for donkey hides for gelatin used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, called ejiao, has increased greatly over recent years, resulting in high and rapidly increasing prices. This has put pressure on donkey populations globally and led to theft and illegal trade in donkeys, resulting in concerns for donkey welfare and the livelihoods of those who rely on donkeys. New donkey farming systems have been set up in China in response. We model how quickly these systems may be able to meet the demand for donkey hides. Results show that it will take at least 10–15 years or more for new donkey farming systems to be able to supply the demand for hides. This means that prices of donkeys and donkey hides will continue to increase with continued thefts and illegal trade. This will have further negative impacts on donkey welfare and on the livelihoods of those who rely on donkeys. Chinese ejiao producers will continue to try to source donkey hides from around the world, putting even greater pressure on donkey populations globally.