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A recent lawsuit has accused Amazon of violating California animal welfare law by selling products containing “ejiao,” a gelatin made from the skin of donkeys. This lawsuit comes after years of pressure from advocacy groups to halt the sale of such products. Competitors like Walmart and eBay have pledged to remove products containing ejiao, but Amazon has yet to follow suit.
The lawsuit has been filed by The Center for Contemporary Equine Studies, which claims that Amazon’s sale of products containing donkey meat is illegal under the 1998 Prohibition of Horse Slaughter and Sale of Horsemeat for Human Consumption Act. According to Wired, donkeys are considered equine animals under this law. The suit demands that Amazon immediately stop selling products containing ejiao.
Ejiao is used in various products like health supplements and beauty products. It acts as a hard gel that can be dissolved in hot water or alcohol to be used in food or drink. Some advocacy groups and consumers claim companies are deceptively using the substance, contributing to the slaughter and skinning of millions of donkeys every year.
According to The Pegasus Foundation, an organization advocating to ban donkey hide products, an estimated 8 to 10 million donkeys are killed and skinned each year to meet demand for ejiao. A 2019 report by The Donkey Sanctuary found that “cruel and often illegal treatment of donkeys by local traders is rife” — including documentation of Tanzanian workers bludgeoning animals with hammers to meet slaughter quotas for ejiao.
An analysis of 1,000 products containing ejiao or that included terms like “donkey hide” conducted by Wired found that at least 15 edible items contain the gelatin, and at least four were available to ship directly from Amazon warehouses (as opposed to third-party sellers).
The Brooke USA Foundation, a group fighting against Amazon in Support of donkey welfare, has been campaigning to halt the sale of products containing ejiao for years. The group states on its website, “We need to stop the sale of ejiao on the world’s largest purchasing online platform. If we help curtail product availability, we can have an impact on the economic gain of those involved in the manufacture of ejiao — both legal and illegal suppliers.”
If the court rules against Amazon, the company could potentially face fines of $1 million per day for each transaction involving ejiao in the state of California, according to Tech Times.
As consumers, we can make a difference by choosing not to Support companies that contribute to the cruel treatment of animals. We can Support organizations like The Brooke USA Foundation that advocate for animal welfare and fight against the sale of products made from animal skins. By raising awareness of the issue and making informed purchasing decisions, we can help make a positive impact on the world.
It’s time for Amazon to take responsibility and stop selling products containing ejiao. Let’s demand that Amazon takes a stand against animal cruelty and make a change that will have a lasting impact.
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