A private foundation devoted to equine well-being has sued Amazon for selling products containing gelatin made from slaughtered donkeys, known as ejiao, on its online platform, according to news reports.

Ejiao is made by skinning slaughtered donkeys and then boiling their hides to produce a sticky gelatin prized by some for “medicine.”  The cruel supplement – which has no scientifically proven health benefits – can be found in some dietary products, herbal teas, beauty products, and even in some snacks, candies, and energy drinks, including in the United States.

The Center for Contemporary Equine Studies, a California-based private foundation dedicated to advancing the well-being of horses and other equines, alleges in the lawsuit that Amazon’s sale of products containing ejiao or “gelatina negra” violates the Prohibition of Horse Slaughter and Sale of Horsemeat for Human Consumption Act, which California passed in 1998 and which prohibits the sale of equine products for human consumption.

The lawsuit alleges that all equines — including donkeys — are covered by that law and calls on Amazon to stop selling ejiao on its platforms. If a judge rules that Amazon violated the law, Amazon could face up to $1 million in fines for each day that Californians purchase donkey hide products.

Amazon did not respond to media inquiries prior to the publication of this story.

Ejiao is in such high demand that millions of donkeys are slaughtered each year, and donkey populations are being decimated, according to a report from nonprofit Donkey Sanctuary.

Other organizations working to help equines also would like to see promotion stopped of cruel products containing ejiao.

“We need to stop the sale of ejiao on the world’s largest purchasing online platform,” said donkey welfare organization Brooke USA Foundation on its website. “If we help curtail product availability, we can have an impact on the economic gain of those involved in the manufacture of ejiao — both legal and illegal suppliers.”

To learn more about why donkeys are such amazing animals, check out our story about them here.