The Wild Beauty Foundation welcomes you to the twenty fifth edition of our weekly newsletter!
Read the newest wild horse and burro focused headlines for the week of November 5th, 2022
It’s #IStandWithWildBurros Week!
While our nation’s wild horses usually take center stage, there is another special wild equine who deserves to share the spotlight; the wild burro!
Small but mighty, the wild burro has thrived in the deserts of the American west for hundreds of years. The species, originating in Africa, was brought to America by the Spanish in the 1500s. Since then, donkeys have helped build our country into what we know it as today. Particularly during the gold rush, these animals were used for transportation across the arid landscape of the American deserts as prospectors and their families flocked west in search of gold.
It is important to note that once a wild burro loses its wild status, it becomes a donkey.
This includes wild burros impacted by government roundups today. Immediately following removal by the BLM, our nation’s wild beauties become mere numbers of the global donkey population. Unfortunately, this can put them at risk of inhumane trade markets, like the Ejiao industry, overseas.
Wild burros and donkeys are incredibly intelligent creatures, and due to this, are often stereotyped as stubborn. However, these animals focus on the safety of themselves and those around them by choosing to walk a fine line between curiosity and concern. They rely on natural instinct to prioritize their responses, leading them simply to not do what they sense could lead to a dangerous outcome. Donkeys are also great protectors, making them the perfect companion for a horse or a herd of livestock.
Surprisingly, donkeys can tolerate water loss up to 30% of their own body weight; this is compared to the 10% that humans can face before extreme dehydration occurs. Additionally, these animals have a great digestive system that can process the rough vegetation of the desert without complication. Subsequently, wild burros of the American west thrive in their environments, as they were naturally built to survive in these arid landscapes.
Donkeys are truly amazing creatures, and they need our attention more than ever. We at WBF advocate for American wild burros and our global donkey population, and we hope you will too. These incredible animals need our voices to champion for their protection.
Do you stand with wild burros?
Growing Ejiao Market Puts Wild Burros at Risk
Quiet, patient, and gentle — few domestic animals are more charming or have occupied a more practical role in human civilization than the donkey. But did you know millions of donkeys are slaughtered annually to produce a product called ejiao?
The demand for ejiao, a gelatin made from boiled donkey hide, is rapidly increasing in countries like China and Africa. The ejiao market is leading to the decimation of the global donkey population. This inhumane industry puts our wild burros at risk of being rounded up and sold to potential kill buyers looking to make profit overseas.
Ejiao is used in cosmetic products and for medicinal uses that, despite scientifically unproven, are said to treat dizziness, insomnia, and dry cough. Studies show that gelatins manufactured from ejiao are unnecessary in the production of these products, as ingredients from other sources such as plants, can be used instead.
Last year, congressman Don Beyer of Virginia introduced the Ejiao Act (H.R. 5203) that would prohibit the sale or transport of ejiao in interstate or foreign commerce. This bill would allow the donkey population to heal and take first steps to end the trade of ejiao for good.