Kenya’s Agriculture minister has banned the slaughter of donkeys and ordered all donkey slaughterhouses in the country to be closed. The move follows an outcry from farmers who say their animals are being stolen to satisfy the growing demand from China,” Farhan Jimale, Senior Journalist Team Manager at BBC News.
Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture Mr. Peter Munya has ordered all slaughterhouses dealing with donkey meat across the country to be shut down.
Mr. Munya says that he has given the investors one month to fold their businesses or change to dealing with meat that “all of us can associate with.”
Mr. Munya was forced to issue the directive after donkey farmers staged a demonstration to his office complaining of an increase in the theft of donkeys since the legalization of donkey meat in the country.
“We no longer have donkeys to use as before. All have been stolen and sold to these slaughterhouses,” said one farmer outside Kilimo House.
The government allowed investors to set up donkey slaughterhouses across the country to take advantage of the “ready market” that was available in China.
The government also hoped to create employment opportunities for Kenyans as a result but according to Munya, the process was hurried and not well “thought of.”
It is not clear whether the directive by CS Munya will be implemented or quashed given the short notice given to those running the business. The investors have vowed to challenge the directive in court.
Donkeys Stolen From Ethiopia
Smuggling of donkeys from Ethiopia to Kenya has been increasing over the past six months making busy customs officers and border controllers.
The donkeys are being smuggled from Ethiopia to Kenya, because the later has donkey slaughtering houses engaged in export of the meat, according to Mr. Chanyalew Fuji, Manager of Ethiopia Moyale customs post, who spoke to the state daily Amharic newspaper, Addis Zemen.
Donkeys Stolen From Uganda
The number of donkeys in Kenya has drastically reduced after the legalization of their slaughter. The animals have become scarce forcing traders to go as far and Uganda in search of them.
Ugandans have complained of their donkeys being stolen and ferried to Kenya where they are sold to slaughterhouses.
“Most donkeys are being killed because of their skin. We are getting so many carcasses with the skin taken. Their skin is more expensive than their meat,” said another trader outside Kilimo House.
Before 2015, slaughtering and selling donkey meat was prohibited and those found were often arrested and arraigned. Do you support CS Munya’s decision to shut down all donkey slaughterhouses?