A shortage of donkey hides used to produce the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) “ejiao” has resulted in a deluge of imitations, with around 40 percent likely to be fake. Donkey-hide gelatin, known as ejiao in Chinese,is made by boiling the donkey’s skin and refining the results into a tonic. Ejiao is mainly taken by women who suffer from anemia, dry coughs or dizziness. The name was coined in Dong’e County in east China’s Shandong Province, where it was originally produced…Full Article: China Daily Jan 2016

Key Points

  • According to the Shandong Ejiao Trade Association, China produces approximately 5,000 MTs of ejiao annually, while at the same time having a donkey hide supply that can produce only 3,000 MTs annually. According to a representative of the Shandong Academy of Agricultural Sciences, the supply gap is filled by skins from mules, horses, pigs and oxen.
  • Shandong Province accounts for roughly 90% of China’s ejiao products.
  • Chinese donkey hide production has decreased owing to the animal’s long rearing period (i.e. birth to slaughter) and low fertility rate (gestation ~1 year, generally 1 foal per birth).

ChinaAg Comments

  • In December 2015, Dongeejiao Pharmaceutical (ejiao producer) and Shandong Lvbang (catering company) signed an agreement to produce and market donkey flesh hotpot and donkey flesh steamed stuff bun.
  • As of 2015, China had a market demand of 10 million donkey skins/leather annually.
  • From 1954 to 2013, China’s donkey population declined from 12.7 million heads to 6.03 million heads.
  • Donkey skins/hides are often used in the production of “ejiao”, a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) product that reportedly improves blood circulation and overall energy. Ejiao, aka E-gelatin, originated in Dong E county, Shandong province.

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