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37th African Union Summit, 2024

37th African Union Summit, 2024:

During the 37th African Union Summit, 2024 in Ethiopia, African heads of state unanimously agreed to a historic ban on the trade of donkey skin, thereby prohibiting the killing of donkeys across the continent for their hides.

  • This is a significant outcome following the Dar es Salaam declaration adopted at the first African Union-Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resource (AU-IBAR) Pan-African Donkey Conference in December 2022.
  • The Dar es Salaam declaration was signed in Tanzania during the Pan African Donkey Skin Conference, organised by the AU-IBAR, where government ministers gathered to understand the harmful effects of the donkey skin trade on animals and communities in Africa.
  • It underscores the rapid decrease in Africa’s donkey population and advocates for increased investment in research, policies, and legislation to safeguard the species.
  • It advocates for an African Union Commission resolution proposing a 15-year halt on the commercial slaughter of donkeys for their skins, alongside the creation of an African donkey strategy addressing exploitation, production, and productivity, to integrate these concerns into the global development agenda.
  • The donkey skin trade, which is largely unregulated, involves cruel practices such as viciously slaughtering donkeys for their skins, which are then exported to China.
  • The trade is illegal in some countries and legal in others causing cruelty and suffering to donkeys globally.
  • The collagen from the donkey skins is used to create a product known as ejiao (a traditional Chinese medicine) which is then used in food, drink, and beauty products.