Amazon is done selling edible donkey meat in California. The online retailer will not allow Californians to buy hundreds of donkey-based snacks listed on the platform as part of a settlement, according to Wired. But don’t worry, you can still buy them in the 49 other states.
Amazon’s new policy kicked in after months of negotiations with the Center for Contemporary Equine Studies, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting horses.
In February, the center filed a legal complaint alleging that Amazon’s sale and distribution of products that contain ejiao—an ingredient made with donkey skin that’s popular in health supplements—violates a California animal-welfare law called the Prohibition of Horse Slaughter and Sale of Horsemeat for Human Consumption Act.
Horsemeat, the center argues, includes donkeys.
A quick Amazon search for “ejiao” will result in hundreds of products containing gelatin made of donkey hide. In 2019, The Donkey Sanctuary reported the ejiao trade was responsible for nearly 5 million donkey deaths, and contributes to their decimating global population.
The trade became a $7.8 billion industry in 2020, and Amazon has raked in some of those profits through the sale of ejiao on its platform. Donkey skin was historically considered a delicacy that promotes wellness. Many ejiao products on Amazon prominently feature the wellness benefits, but not the part saying they contain donkey meat.
As part of a settlement to that complaint, Amazon has agreed to stop selling products that contain ejiao in California. According to court documents, Amazon denies any wrongdoing and disputes the center’s allegations.
But in an interview with WIRED, Corey Page, an attorney with the law firm Evans & Page who represented the center in the lawsuit, speculates that “Amazon doesn’t settle cases it thinks it can win.”
“This is a signal that if anyone is doing this, they are doing something illegal,” he says. “If a company like Amazon decides it needs to stop sending products and promoting products that violate California law, then all other retailers should do the same.”
Amazon did not respond to a request for comment or questions about its new donkey-meat policy.