Advocates called on Members of Congress to support H.R. 6021 (Ejiao Act)
With the demand for ejiao products in China decimating the world’s donkey populations, global prices have increased and it has become increasingly difficult for owners to replace their stolen animals.
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Brooke USA Foundation (Brooke USA) recently hosted its second National Advocacy Days on October 26 and 27 in Washington, DC. These Advocacy Days served as a cornerstone of Brooke USA’s 2023 advocacy program focused on banning the import and sale of ejiao in the United States while giving Board members, friends, and supporters the chance to meet with their Members of Congress.
Advocates helped educate Congressional representatives about the issues facing working equines and their families in vulnerable communities across the world, especially as it relates to the production of ejiao, a gelatin-based traditional Chinese medicine derived from boiling the hides of donkeys. During the meetings, advocates sought support for the re-introduction of the “Ejiao Act” (H.R. 6021).
This legislation, originally introduced in 2021, as H.R. 5203 and now H.R. 6021 by Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), would prohibit the transport, sale, and purchase of ejiao products, as well as donkeys and donkey hides to produce ejiao. This legislation mirrors the penalties under the Lacey Act — widely regarded as one the strongest federal laws in the United States to protect a wide range of species from illegal trade and exploitation.
The Ejiao Act would restrict trade on all ejiao products made from donkey skins, which are decimating the species’ global population and threatening the impoverished families and communities who rely on them. Hundreds of millions of people, in some of the most impoverished parts of the world, rely on donkeys for survival, Donkeys are a major part of the working livestock sector and support the livelihoods of millions of people in developing countries from farming to construction to hauling goods.
Unfortunately, with the booming demand for ejiao products in China decimating the world’s donkey populations, global prices have increased. Today, it has become increasingly difficult for owners to replace their animals when they are killed or stolen.
“It is imperative that our nation’s policymakers learn how the shock of losing a donkey can destroy a person’s livelihood and push them further into poverty,” said Jim Hamilton, DVM, Chair of the Board of Directors of Brooke USA.
Thousands of donkeys in developing countries are being killed and their skins sold to China. It is estimated that 4.8 million donkey hides a year are needed to satisfy the demand for ejiao. Ejiao remains largely unknown to most American consumers, yet the United States is the third-largest importer of products containing ejiao, after Hong Kong and Japan, with approximately $12 million in annual imports each year. China remains the leading consumer of ejiao in the world.
“We must continue the momentum in the fight against the global donkey hide trade and the devastation caused by the production of ejiao. We will be calling on Members of Congress to leverage their influence and help enact the Ejiao Act,” stated Emily Dulin, CEO of Brooke USA. “The only way we can do this is by encouraging our friends and supporters everywhere to take action.
We ask everyone to address legislators in their district and ask for a ban on the import and sale of ejiao,” added Dulin. Brooke USA provides an easy online platform to write to Members of Congress directly; visit brookeusa.org/ejiao-act-1 today.
About Brooke USA Foundation (Brooke USA): The mission of Brooke USA is to significantly improve the health, welfare and productivity of working horses, donkeys and mules and the people who depend on them for survival worldwide. We are committed to sustainable economic development by reducing poverty, increasing food security, ensuring access to water, providing a means to education, and raising basic standards of living through improved equine health and welfare. We accomplish this by raising funds and responsibly directing them to the areas of greatest need.
Brooke USA strives to alleviate the suffering and vulnerability of developing communities by funding and implementing programs that improve the quality of life and health of working equines and thereby positively impacting their economic sustainability, protecting the planet, ensuring gender equality, and guaranteeing life on land resilience. We want to see healthy, happy people and equines that work in partnership to achieve sustainable local economies.
Press release by Emily Dulin