Global giant eBay has bowed to pressure from a West Country charity and agreed to stop selling a controversial Chinese medicine.
The largest equine welfare charity in the world, The Donkey Sanctuary, based in Sidmouth, has persuaded the trading site to stop selling the Chinese medicine ejiao, which contains gelatin from donkey skin and is alleged to offer anti-ageing properties.
The Donkey Sanctuary’s chief executive, Mike Baker, wrote to eBay’s President earlier this month.
His letter highlighted the unfolding livelihood crisis, animal welfare disaster and potential consumer health risks associated with the unregulated ‘health’ product.
The Donkey Sanctuary said there were shocking consequences to the global donkey skin trade that has emerged to meet the demand for ejiao.
Mr Baker said that from Tanzania to Peru, South Africa to Pakistan, donkeys across the world are being stolen and skinned in the night, their carcasses found by distraught owners.
For millions of people in some of world’s poorest communities, donkeys are still the main means of livelihood and sustain families by providing them with an income and independence, he said.
Campaigners said the donkey skin trade is unregulated and some of the claims made about the supposed health benefits of ejiao are unverified – one of the principal reasons for eBay prohibiting its sale.
Mr Baker said: “We hope other online retail sites follow eBay’s lead and immediately suspend all sales of products containing ejiao until the manufacturing origin of these products can be clearly and demonstrably shown to have no negative humanitarian and animal welfare consequences.”
The Donkey Sanctuary is leading efforts to halt the trade in donkey skins and has been supported by World Horse Welfare, Brooke and SPANA who joined the charity’s group of global partners in writing to eBay and other online retailers who sell ejiao products.