South African donkeys are being slaughtered in a barbaric manner, the National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty against animals has warned.
The increase in donkey poaching has been to satisfy an increase in donkey skin demand in China where they are reportedly used to produce drugs to delay menopause.
Donkeys use to stroll comfortably in South Africa’s Mogosani village located in the North West but they do so now at their own risk.
“Now we found them slaughtering donkeys. They will use a hammer to hit the forehead or from the back or vertebrae so that they would fall back and they will use a knife to cut their throats,” Kabelo Nkoane who works with Highveld field said.Official statistics show that even China’s donkey population has dropped over the years from 11 million heads in 1990 to about 6 million in 2013.
China has denied any participation in this trade with South Africa.
In efforts to halt smuggling, authorities of South Africa’s North West province which has the largest donkey population in South Africa, are negotiating an agreement on the legal export of donkey skin to the Chinese Heran region.
“The community is very angry. Whenever it happens, the police are called but they do nothing. They come but the case is not brought before the courts; nobody is stopped,” donkey owner, Ikopeleng Tsiesoane said.
Negotiations to legalise the donkey skin trade has been met with criticism from animal rights groups.
Botswana and Kenya have concluded legal arrangements to export donkey skins. Namibia is working on a slaughterhouse to locally treat donkey skins before exportation deals with China.