19 donkeys moved to places of safety - SPCA

2017-04-18 18:43
Donkey. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Donkey. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Johannesburg – A total of 19 donkeys have been rescued from the risk of being stolen and slaughtered for their skins, the national council of SPCAs said on Tuesday.

Five donkeys had already been moved to their new home in Bethlehem, Free State, the organisation said in a statement.

"The donkeys were adopted according to the standard procedure, which involves a formal application to adopt an animal, and giving an undertaking of being able to afford private veterinary fees, and committing to looking after the animal for the rest of its natural life," the NSPCA said.

A further 14 donkeys would be travelling to their new homes soon, it said in a statement.

"Their adoptions have been approved, as all the required administration and procedures have been undertaken."

The donkeys were rescued in the Sani area, in the west of KwaZulu-Natal, in February. They had initially been cared for at the SPCA in that area, however, due to the SPCA’s close proximity to the Lesotho border post, it was feared that the donkeys might be stolen, the organisation said.

"Their welfare and safety were top priorities, so a decision was taken to move the donkeys to other SPCAs," it said.

Earlier this year, reports highlighted a sudden spike in the demand from China for donkey hides. The NSPCA harshly criticised the manner in which donkeys across the country were being targeted.

In the Mail & Guardian, it was revealed that an alleged Chinese syndicate was illegally slaughtering donkeys, and had stocked more than 5 000 hides inside a shack and a metal container in Benoni.

Slow, excruciating death

Police confiscated the skins during a raid. People who work in the area told the publication that "the skins belong to the Chinese" and that a truck often came to collect the skins, which were estimated to be worth up to R7 000 each.

Last month, Lisa Mörck, marketing manager of the Kloof and Highway SPCA, said in a column on News24 that donkeys were being slaughtered and their skins salted and packaged, ready to be transported to China where they are rendered and processed to obtain a gelatinous substance from their skins used to make Ejiao – an ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine and for cosmetics.

"Donkeys are being rounded up or stolen, then transported and inhumanely slaughtered for their skins. Evidence indicates that the method of slaughter is horrendous.

"Indications on carcasses have shown a hole behind the head. That is, the donkeys appear to have been 'immobilised' with an instrument, then skinned, probably while still conscious. Death would have been slow and excruciatingly painful for these animals," Mörck said at the time.

More skins and stolen donkeys have subsequently been discovered on farms in the North West and Northern Cape.

The NSPCA on Tuesday said it was uplifting that the donkeys had reached a place of safety and that all the staff involved had worked tirelessly to ensure that the animals would have a secure future.

"The 'donkey skin trade' continues, as do our efforts to monitor situations, respond to information received and to take whatever steps may be appropriate when necessary," the organisation said.

Criminal charges have been laid in several instances, cases have come before the courts and convictions obtained, it added.

Read more on:    spca  |  johannesburg  |  animals

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