Amazon Has a Donkey Meat Problem
The retailer sells products meant for human consumption containing donkey meat
When Cindy first tried the Artemisia Anti-hemorrhage Formula dietary supplements that she purchased on Amazon, she had no reason to suspect that she was eating donkey. A California native and lifelong vegetarian, she assumed that the world's largest online retailer had vetted the bottle's claims of being made from "100 percent pure, natural herbs." However, while reading the back of the bottle, she noticed an ingredient she hadn’t seen before: "gelatina nigra." She Googled it, and what she found made her stomach turn.
Every year, millions of donkeys are slaughtered and skinned to make the so-called gelatina nigra found in Cindy’s dietary supplement. More commonly called “ejiao” or “donkey-hide gelatin,” the animal product is made from donkey skin. It’s in such high demand due to its alleged health benefits that it’s decimating the global donkey population and has led to increasingly brutal treatment of the animals, according to a 2019 report by the Donkey Sanctuary, an advocacy organization. A video the organization obtained shows workers in Tanzania bludgeoning donkeys with hammers to meet their slaughter quotas. "It's not herbal. It's literally made with donkeys," said Cindy, who asked to go by only her first name for privacy reasons. "Why would Amazon sell something that cruel?"
While some retailers like Walmart and eBay have committed to drop products that contain ejiao, edible items containing this ingredient are widely for sale on Amazon in spite of multiple petitions asking that it stop selling them. A legal complaint filed in California last week by the Center for Contemporary Equine Studies, a nonprofit, claims Amazon's continued sale of these donkey-based products is more than distasteful—it may be illegal.
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