Lok Sabha member and animal rights activist Maneka Gandhi was addressing the public during an event when she threw light on the decreasing donkey population in Ladakh, India. The video recording her talk has surfaced online and gone viral on social media. It reveals the alleged reason why the animal has become rare to sight in recent times.
Did you ever see a donkey recently?
Maneka Gandhi was addressing at a choupal in Uttar Pradesh's Sultanpur when she asked the masses "How long has it been to spotting a donkey." She then said, "Their numbers are falling. The dobis (washermen) have also stopped using donkeys."
Maneka Gandhi hints at why their are numbers falling
"There is a community in Ladakh which also noticed that the number of donkeys was seeing a decrease. So they started milking donkeys and their milk to produce soap," the animal activist brought to the notice of the public gathered there. Having said so, she suggested that the soaps made with donkey's milk have the potential to keep a woman's body beautiful forever. "Cleopatra, a very famous queen, used to bathe in donkey's milk," she added.
Milk from goat, cow, and donkeys
"Soaps made with donkey's milk cost ₹ 500 apiece in Delhi. Why don't we start making soaps with goat's milk and with donkey's milk?" she asked in the now-viral video.
Reports further quoted her from inputs from a longer version of her talk and mentioned: "To date, no one has become rich by rearing goats or cows. We don't have that many doctors. There would hardly be three doctors among the 25 lakh people in Sultanpur. Sometimes not even that." She made the comment and expressed of strongly being against anyone doing goat or cow rearing.
Donkeys in Ladakh
The Kashmir Mirror in 2022, with inputs from a social enterprise setting up India’s first donkey park in Leh, pointed out that there were only 1,20,000 donkeys left in India. Noting that in Ladakh, the condition of donkeys is very bad, the NGO explored the economical prospects to help locals earn a livelihood.
“Donkey milk is costlier because of its cosmetic properties. It has anti-aging and antioxidant properties. A litre of donkey milk sells between ₹ 2000 and ₹ 4000. During the pandemic it was sold at Rs 7000-8000 a litre in Maharashtra and Gujarat,” the report read quoting Pooja Koul, founder of Organiko.
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