Group says South African donkeys killed for China market

Animal rights activists in South Africa say donkeys are being illegally slaughtered in increasing numbers because their hides are used in traditional medicine in China.

The Chinese embassy in South Africa said Friday that it supports any efforts by South African authorities to combat the theft and illegal killing of donkeys, including the prosecution of those responsible.

The embassy announcement follows a report this week by South Africa's NSPCA, an animal protection group, that hundreds of donkeys were slaughtered on a farm in Northern Cape province. The group cites witness reports that donkeys were bludgeoned with hammers and skinned alive and says two men were arrested.

The NSPCA says donkey hides contain a gelatin that is used in traditional medicine in China.