Donkey milk might just be an emerging trend we Irish want to get all up in.
Every now and then there is an investment idea that seems so feckin crazy that it might just work. Cryptocurrency is a good example. Seemed crazy at first and now it feels like it will be the only way we will pay for things in the future.
Listen up though. Here is a new idea that Ireland should get on board with as an early adopter. And that is the new industry of donkey milk products.
Donkey milk has loads of really cool stuff in it that is amazing for the skin and for overall health. Donkey’s milk has been used for centuries for its anti-aging properties. Cleopatra used to bathe in donkey’s milk to preserve the elasticity and youth of her skin.
According to an Allied Market Research report, the global donkey milk market is about to go BOOM. While the cosmetics side of donkey milk takes up to 75% of the market, there are now more donkey milk food and drink products than ever before.
There are a few obstacles to overcome. The industry is hindered by the fact that it costs a lot to make it, and that there is a lack of awareness about the products generally. However here’s the good news. Social media is very, very receptive to the idea, because first of all, it’s a little weird, and the clickbait factor is high. And second of all, we all love a health fad. Health-conscious influencers looking for attention-grabbing ideas are gonna love donkey milk products.
Donkey Milk Food and Drinks
Strangely, the outbreak of the pandemic led to an increase in sales of donkey milk. Anything that was seen as protective to the immune system has just flown off the shelves. Catch this for an idea… donkey’s milk has found to have immune enhancer compounds, which protects toddlers from infections and diseases. Yep, sounds pretty impressive to us too. Donkey milk is also loaded with vitamins, minerals, protein, iron, and other trace elements. And here’s the really profitable idea…it has a very close resemblance to human breast milk.
And finally, donkey milk contains less cholesterol and fat when compared with cow, goat, and sheep milk.
Donkey Milk – The Asian Boom
The Asia-Pacific region is expected to be where the big boom is. This is because several years ago, China’s biggest baby formula company, Sanlu Group, was busted for selling milk which was laced with the dangerous industrial chemical melamine. The melamine was put into the formula to artificially boost protein levels. It was a dreadful, gut-wrenching tale of greed that saw babies die and Chinese parents be horribly suspicious of baby formula. Now parents are all haunted by formula choices. Donkey milk, with its high similarity to human breast milk, is predicted to be a winner.
Ireland and The Donkey
For some reason, Ireland is seen as the traditional home of the donkey. Our country has always had traditional links with donkeys, especially in rural areas. Donkey postcards from rural holiday destinations in Ireland were very popular, conveying a lost rural idyll (that didn’t really exist).
And yet. Donkeys worked hard for Irish people. They carried rocks from cleared fields. The carried turf from the bogs. The ploughed fields. They were the main transport of people and goods in a lot of rural areas. They were used to grind corn. And of course, they were family pets, with kids climbing all over them for a ride.
As time marched on and vehicles became more widespread, donkeys fell out of favour. Ireland did remain a lot poorer than other nations of Europe, so we hung onto our donkeys for a little longer than most other countries. Even up until 50 years ago, donkeys were probably being used for a lot of tasks on farms.
Ireland joined the EU in 1974. After this, there was more investment in rural areas, and the donkey became less important to farmers. But as pets, they thrived. In fact, during the Celtic Tiger years, having a pet donkey became a status symbol. The cost of a young mare jumped from €500 to €1800… much like the housing market! And like the housing market, what goes up, must come down.
After the economic crumble, donkeys were neglected or set free, to be taken in by donkey sanctuaries and by kind people who kept them as companion animals. Even now, you can get them free if you offer them a good home.
Irish Donkey History
Donkeys were thought to have got to Ireland via Britain: The ever-expanding Roman Empire used donkeys as pack animals. While there isn’t much evidence of donkeys in Ireland before the 17th Century in stories or art… there is a confusing nugget of history here. Some depictions of donkeys can be found on the Irish high crosses (from the story of Mary riding a donkey to an Inn, presumably) which date all the way back to the 9th and 10th centuries. So the stonemasons must have seen donkeys somewhere to be able to carve them… where they did see them remains a mystery.
In Ireland in 1897 there were 247,000 donkeys working on farms. But after WW1, horses came back from war zones and flooded the place, so donkeys weren’t needed as much. After than they started their population decline. But now, we feel like the donkey’s time has come again in Ireland. Farmers? I think we would like some donkey milk beauty products, and fast, Hurry up, we aren’t getting any younger!
Checkout these donkey farms for further reading!
Obviously it is time to start using donkey milk in these Irish cream cocktails!
Nicole Buckler has been working as a journalist for over 20 years, writing from Sydney, Melbourne, Taipei, London, and Dublin.
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