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New footage released by animal rights group PETA shows donkeysin Chinese farms being hit on the head with a sledgehammer in a bid to make ejiao, a medicine made from donkey skin.
Ejiao has become increasingly popular among affluent Chinese people who believe it as a cure for poor circulation, an anti-ageing treatment or a remedy for insomnia.
However, PETA says they've released the footage to dissuade consumers and highlight the cruel deaths suffered by some of the estimated 1.8 donkeys killed for their hides each year. 
“In the ejiao trade, donkeys as young as five months old are bashed in the head and die a slow, agonising death, all for an ingredient no one needs,” said PETA Director of International Programmes Mimi Bekhechi. “PETA Asia is calling on kind people everywhere to reject ejiao and encourage their friends and family members to do the same.”
In a press release, PETA Asia said many of the donkeys seen by their observer were locked in filthy pens and standing in their own faeces or urine. They were killed with a sledgehammer because it was the cheapest method, the rights group said. 
Last year, several African countries banned China from buying donkeys from them, saying the demand was proving unsustainable. Burkina Faso also banned them from buying donkey skins specifically. 
“[Ejiao] is quite a popular ingredient in China that people may self-prescribe,” Chinese medicine expert Mazin Al-Khafaji told The Independent at the time. “But there is a shortage, and there are fakes around as it’s very expensive.”
“It’s what we call a blood tonic, so it stops bleeding and strengthens the blood. It’s used for anemia or low blood cell count,” he said.
“It’s a hard gel, made from donkey hide, which is then dissolved in hot water or alcohol. It’s also used topically in a cream, for leg ulcers for instance.”

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