Presenter Angela Rippon met with charity Brooke in London last week, to support its stand against the donkey skin trade after the recent Africa-wide ban.

Angela led a panel discussion on Friday (17 May) at Saddlers’ Hall hosted by Brooke on the skin trade, which has devastated Africa’s donkey population.

Charity leaders from East Africa, West Africa and Ethiopia offered insight into the slaughter of donkeys for their skins to make ejiao, a traditional Chinese medicine believed to have health benefits which remain unproven.

“I’m so proud to fight alongside Brooke to end the donkey skin trade, which is having a devastating impact on livelihoods and communities,” said Angela (pictured below, leading the panel). “It’s vital to protect these animals who do so much for people; you can’t have one without the other.

“I hope through discussions like this, we can shed light on the horrors of the trade and influence a global ban, which Brooke is working so hard to achieve.”

A continent-wide ban of the donkey skin trade was approved by the African Union with support from animal welfare organisations including Brooke, in a summit on 18 February 2024.

The event is one of many this year to mark Brooke’s 90th anniversary and thank the charity’s supporters, the other most recent event being a Buckingham Palace reception hosted by Her Majesty The Queen on 9 May.

Other Brooke ambassadors in attendance were actress Annette Badland and equestrian legend Jane Holderness-Roddam.

“The skin trade poses a significant threat to the future of the world’s donkeys, especially in communities where they are vital to social and economic development,” added Chris Wainwright, Chief Executive of Brooke.

“Whilst the ban in Africa is a historic milestone, there is a still a long way to go to stop the trade entirely and give these animals, deservedly, a life worth living.”

Brooke was founded in 1934 by Dorothy Brooke to help improve the lives of working horses, donkeys and mules, and the communities that depend on them.

Brooke’s 90th anniversary sponsor is The Sir Peter O’Sullevan Charitable Trust, which has donated over £1 million to Brooke since 1998.

Lead image by Xaume Olleros for Brooke

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