Donkeys rescued from skin trade find new home in Free State

The trade of donkey hides is diminishing the donkey population. Picture: Highveld Horse Care Unit.

The trade of donkey hides is diminishing the donkey population. Picture: Highveld Horse Care Unit.

The NSPCA said it was committed to combating the trade in donkey skins.

While the donkey skin trade continues, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) expressed its delight on Tuesday that there was a “positive, uplifting and heart-warming outcome” for some rescued donkeys.

The NSPCA said five donkeys rescued from “the horrific trade in their skins” were adopted according to the standard procedure and arrived in Bethlehem in the Free State, while another 14 donkeys would travel to a new home after the required administration and procedures were undertaken following the approval of their adoptions.

The NSPCA said: “These donkeys were rescued in the Sani area in early 2017. They were initially cared for at the Sani SPCA but since their operation is not far from the Lesotho border post, it was feared that the donkeys might be stolen. Their welfare and safety were top priorities so a decision was taken to move the donkeys to other SPCAs.”

These SPCAs included Benoni, Kloof and Highway SPCAs.

“The end of the story is a very uplifting one not only for the donkeys but in terms of satisfaction for all the dedicated staff involved who worked tirelessly to ensure their safety and to secure their future,” said the NSPCA.

The animal welfare organisation shared this information with its followers on Facebook and many social media users encouraged the organisation’s work:

A screenshot of the comments on the National Council of SPCAs Facebook page.

A screenshot of the comments on the National Council of SPCAs Facebook page.

The NSPCA added that its efforts to monitor the situations of the “donkey skin trade” continued and said they would take appropriate steps when necessary. The animal welfare organisation added that criminal charges had been laid in several instances and convictions had been made.

In one of these instances, The Citizen reported that donkey skins with an estimated value of R2 250 000 were recovered in a crime intelligence-driven operation in the Brandvlei area of Randfontein on the West Rand in late February.

READ MORE: Over R2m worth of donkey skins found in Randfontein

Earlier this year in January, two people were arrested after the NSPCA’s Farm Animal Protection Unit uncovered a “horror donkey killing site” in the Northern Cape where hundreds of donkeys were found to be illegally and brutally slaughtered on a farm in Olifantshoek.

The NSPCA said two men were charged in terms of the Animal Protection Act and the Meat Safety Act following confirmation of the “horror operation” on their farm and witness reports of donkeys allegedly being bludgeoned with hammers and skinned alive.

READ MORE: ‘Horror donkey killing site’ uncovered in NC as demand for skins continues

In October last year, the Highveld Horse Care Unit told The Citizen the illegal slaughter of donkeys for the trade in their hides was rapidly diminishing the donkey population in South Africa.

The NSPCA had said in a statement last year that the demand for donkey hide, which contains a gelatine, was supposedly for medical purposes, such as treating anti-ageing, insomnia and blood circulation.

“The gelatine is a key ingredient in China’s ejiao industry, which produces tablets, tonics and a sweet syrup. The skins are soaked and stewed to produce or release this substance,” read the NSPCA’s statement.

READ MORE: Donkey populations diminish as hide trade soars

“The National Council of SPCAs commits to combating the scourge of the donkey skin trade tirelessly and steadfastly,” the organisation said and added that informants could anonymously submit information to or call 011-907-3590.


R200k raised for the NSPCA and the Karoo Donkey Sanctuary

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