For the first AU-IBAR Pan-African Donkey Conference, delegates from across the African Union gathered in Dar es Salaam to discuss the future of donkeys on the African continent and a 15-year ban on donkey killing.
It was on Thursday, the inaugural virtual conference took place.
“Donkeys are in crisis throughout Africa, and The Donkey Sanctuary wholeheartedly endorses the proposals presented in the Dar es Salaam Declaration,” said Janneke Merkx, Tactical Response Officer at The Donkey Sanctuary.
In order to conserve donkey populations on the African continent and the communities and livelihoods that depended on them, Mr. Merkx claimed that a 15-year moratorium on the slaughter of donkeys for their skins was precisely the kind of bold action that had to be taken.
She added that the Declaration made other suggestions to the African Union Congress, including “creating policies, strategies, programs, and legislation on donkey exploitation at national and regional levels.”
She explained that the goal was to quicken resource mobilization efforts for a planned program on the development of donkeys.
The Dar es Salaam Declaration on Donkeys in Africa Now and in the Future, she claimed, acknowledged the socioeconomic significance of donkeys in Africa.
The proclamation expresses grave concern for the species’ unjust use and exploitation.
The delegates wrote a declaration to stop this unjustifiable abuse and save donkey populations in Africa.
The African Union Congress was urged by the declaration to suggest a 15-year moratorium (ban) on the slaughter of donkeys for the export of their skins and other items related to donkeys.
The results of three recent reports on the donkey skin trade, including the first two publications in the series Global Trade in Donkey Skins: A Ticking Time Bomb, were also given by Ms. Merkx.
There is an undeniable connection between the trade in donkey skins and the traffic in other illegal wildlife items, according to the first study, The Donkey Skin Trade as a Trojan Horse for Wildlife Trafficking.
The high risk of zoonotic illness posed by trade was described in “Biosecurity Risks and Implications for Human and Animal Health on a Global Scale.
“Myths or Money? The Third Report? The unsustainable aspect of raising donkeys for their skins was further highlighted in the chapter, “Challenges and Limitations of Donkey Farming,” she said.
The proclamation also emphasizes the concern about the alarming loss in donkey populations brought on by the demand for ejiao, a traditional Chinese medicine made from donkey gelatine that is thought to have medicinal benefits.
The Donkey Sanctuary, the largest equine welfare organization in the world, conducted studies that revealed the ejiao industry was a substantial contributor to the almost five million donkeys that are killed annually throughout the world.