Senators Lee Rhiannon and Derryn Hinch are working together to stop the emerging global live export trade in donkeys and horses. The donkeys are slaughtered for their skins, which are boiled into a glutinous glue called Ejiao that is being marketed as a “vitality tonic”.
The Export Control Amendment (Equine Live Export for Slaughter Prohibition) Bill, to be introduced into the Senate tomorrow, if passed would prohibit the live export of horses and donkeys for the purpose of slaughter overseas.
Last year the Turnbull Government prepared an amendment order that if adopted would have permitted the export of donkeys and horses for overseas slaughter. The then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce endorsed the trade as a business opportunity, stating to Chinese businesses, “We’re going to make sure if you want to eat donkey skins, you’re going to eat our [Australian] edible donkey skins”.
Greens Animal welfare spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said:
“The Greens are firmly opposed to the live export trade expanding to include donkeys and horses. Despite what Barnaby Joyce has said I am sure the majority of Australians would not want the Turnbull government to support this trade.
“By banning the overseas trade in donkeys from Australia we will be standing with the growing number of countries and organisations that are sounding a warming about this so called ‘vitality tonic’.
“Numerous countries are now banning the donkey and horse live export trade. Since Pakistan banned the export of donkey hides in 2015, nine African governments have followed suit banning donkey skin exports. Brazil is also considering a ban.
“Low income countries are fighting this trade. Their impoverished communities, who rely on donkeys as transport for water and goods, and as agricultural beasts of burden, have been priced out of ownership and had their animals stolen since this trade took off. We should stand with these countries.
“We don’t want donkeys to suffer or life made harder for poor communities and we don’t want people conned into wasting their money on Ejiao.
“The live export industry is a business model unavoidably built on the suffering of animals. We have a responsibility to prevent the expansion of that industry to include donkeys and horses.
“Our Bill if passed would ensure that the export of equines, including horses, ponies and donkeys, for killing in overseas slaughterhouses will never begin.
“NGOs led by the Humane Society International and The Donkey Sanctuary have been tirelessly educating the public and decision-makers about the realities of this trade.