Lövsta Future Challenge Announces Collaboration with Brooke USA: A Means to Create Awareness for the Atrocious Donkey Hide Trade

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Lövsta Future Challenge, the renowned equestrian competition for Developing Grand Prix horses and for Under 25 riders, is pleased to announce Brooke USA Foundation (Brooke USA) as its equine charity partner during the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival and Global Dressage.

Lövsta Future Challenge joins Brooke USA’s Paint Wellington Orange, an initiative created to build awareness and raise funds for the plight of working horses, donkeys and mules and the people who depend on them for survival worldwide. For each entry throughout the season, in jumping as well in dressage, Lövsta Future Challenge will donate $100.00 to Brooke USA.

“Support from partners like Lövsta Future Challenge is critical to expanding the mission of Brooke USA. There are great synergies between both organizations. We both focus on the importance of equine health and wellbeing, understanding that those that are cared for, ultimately, result in better performers, whether competing at the Grand Prix level or laboring in a brick kiln in India,” explained Katherine Kaneb, Chair of the Board of Directors of Brooke USA.

Antonia Ax:son Johnson, owner of Lövsta Stuteri and founder of Lövsta Future Challenge added that “the competition strives to serve as a role model for horsemanship and is the result of mutual esteem and love for the horse, admiration of its achievements and the magic that arises during the encounter between horse and rider. We believe that horses make us better people and live by this conviction every day. We know that one of Brooke USA’s missions is to educate equine owners in some of the poorest communities on the earth on the value of respect and appreciation for their animals.”

The partnership with Lövsta Future Challenge provides Brooke USA with a platform to expand awareness of the donkey hide trade which is jeopardizing donkey populations all over the world. Half the world’s donkeys could be wiped out in the next five years, as millions are slaughtered to meet the rising demand for “ejiao”, a gelatin-like product used in traditional Chinese medicine and derived from boiling the hides of donkeys. Believed to improve blood circulation and treat conditions like anemia, infertility, and impotence, ejiao is found in powders, tonics cosmetics and even food products.

The demand for donkey hides is outstripping supply, creating a lucrative business for both producers and retailers. The emergence of the global trade of donkey hides is attributed to the rise of China’s middle class and increased perception of the medicine’s efficacy.

The sudden emergence of donkeys as a globally traded commodity has disrupted traditional cycles of use; around the world donkeys now are worth more dead than alive. This has raised the price of donkeys in some countries, making them unaffordable for many people who use them to take goods to market, cultivate land, and fetch water.

Communities that rely on donkeys for daily chores no longer have access to a resource that until recently was abundant and cheap. Adept at drawing heavy loads and temperamentally easy to handle, donkeys have supported vulnerable livelihoods globally for hundreds of years.

Donkeys support about 600 million people in some of the most impoverished parts of the world, and since the booming hide trade has driven up donkey prices, owners struggle to replace their animals when they are stolen. In fact, the Chinese demand for “ejiao” is hammering donkey populations, putting their price out of reach for those who need them. The shock of losing a donkey can destroy a person’s livelihood and push them further into poverty.

“Protecting donkeys under threat is one task organizations such as Brooke: Action for Working Horses & Donkeys (Brooke UK) is spearheading across the developing world. However, it is also imperative to halt the sale of ejiao and change perceptions about its effectiveness,” stated Kaneb. She added, “at present, Brooke USA is leading the charge to ensure that Amazon pulls ejiao from its global online retail platform and is working diligently with Congress to ensure the passing of the Ejiao Act (H.R. 5203)”. This bill will restrict the transport and sale of all ejiao products and its derivatives in the United States. The United States is the third largest importer of ejiao, with approximately $12 million in annual imports each year.

For more information on the Lövsta Future Challenge in Wellington,  visit www.lovstafuturechallenge.se  and to take action today regarding the donkey hide trade, visit Brooke USA at www.brookeusa.org/amazon or www.brookeusa.org/ejiao-act.

For more information, contact:
Emily Dulin

Kendall Bierer