A gruesome find

2017-02-01 06:02
Donkeys and horses that were saved from the auction in Hartswater by the Donkey Sanctuary last week. Photo: Facebook

Donkeys and horses that were saved from the auction in Hartswater by the Donkey Sanctuary last week. Photo: Facebook

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The price of donkeys are through the roof because of huge demand in China.

According to Jaco van Aswegen of Liba Auctioneers in Hartswater, donkeys were sold for R2 000 a piece at an auction in Hartswater last week. Only five years ago, donkeys were sold for R500 each.

This has major implications for the owners of donkeys, since there is now a huge black market demand for these animals and they will have to protect their donkeys.

Jonno Sherwin, founder of the Donkey Sanctuary in Prins Albert, says donkey hides are offered at about R7 000 each in China.

He attended the auction on Wednesday (25/01) where most of the 700 donkeys and horses on offer were apparently sold for the Chinese market.

With the aid of donors, his sanctuary bought 155 of the animals to save them from being slaugtered for their skins.

Van Aswegen fears that donkeys are under threat in South Africa.

“The Chinese now run around in the Northern Cape and the North West Province with bags of money, buying all the donkeys. They especially buy donkeys from poor people living in Taung and Pampierstad.”

He says the number of donkeys in Gauteng has shown a shocking decrease and the Chinese have now shifted their attention to these two provinces.

The Highveld Horse Care Unit discovered about 5 000 donkey hides in Benoni last year, which were allegedly destined for the Chinese market.

Van Asgewen predicts that in three years’ time, donkeys will only be seen in zoos in South Africa.

According to residents of Olifantshoek, the illegal slaughtering of hundreds of missing donkeys in this town to strip the animals of their hides already began in November last year.

Two men, Heinrich Smit and Dawid Pappie, were arrested outside the town two weeks ago and were charged with animal abuse.

They allegedly illegally slaughtered donkeys alive on a farm to sell the hides on the Chinese market.

The gelatine the hides contain is used in health products.

Insp. Mpho Mokoena of the SPCA claimed that the donkeys had been beaten with hammers and then slaughter-ed alive to harvest the hides.

According to Sherwin, the Chinese have proven with their “research” that the gelatine apparently can only be obtained from donkey skin.

“It is prescribed as cure for many health problems.

“China can provide only about three million donkeys in its own market annually, while the country needs eight million.

“I do not blame the Chinese. Our government does not apply laws strictly.

“The police do not follow up on complaints about donkeys which disappear and are slaughtered.

“The South African Revenue Service (Sars) must thoroughly examine and search the real value and description of hides in shipping containers.

“The incidents that were discovered are just the tip of the iceberg.”

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