- A team of stakeholders including the Turkana Council of Elders, Leaders, Brooke, Adok, and the Agency for Cross Border Development (APaD) have joined hands to promote the conservation of donkeys in Turkana.
- CS Agriculture Mithika Linturi on June 17, hinted at removing a ban on the slaughter of donkeys and the sale of donkey meat across the country.
Donkey stakeholders in Turkana have opposed the National government's move to lift the ban on donkey slaughter over unemployment.
A team of stakeholders including the Turkana Council of Elders, Leaders, Brooke, Adok, and the Agency for Cross Border Development (APaD) have joined hands to promote the conservation of donkeys in Turkana.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi on June 17, hinted at removing a ban on the slaughter of donkeys and the sale of donkey meat across the country. He spoke in Baringo.
Linturi stated that donkeys were considered livestock under his ministry and that he would take care of them as well as ensure the welfare of their owners noting that the matter was under consideration.
He said if donkey slaughter was permitted, the government would take precautionary measures to ensure that it will be done in accordance with the guidelines provided by the Constitution.
His move, he explained, was a result of unemployment caused by the ban.
He noted that if lifting the ban would provide employment for the youth, then it was the right thing to do.
However, his move has been opposed by donkey stakeholders citing lifting the ban on donkey slaughter will wipe the donkeys out since they are poor breeders with high abortion rates.
Abraham Lokwam, Chairman of the Council of Elders Turkana County, said the reopening of the slaughterhouses is a threat to the animals they depend on for survival.
“The donkey is a very important animal for the Turkana community. We use them as means of transport as we migrate from region to region and we also use meat as medicine. So the reopening of the slaughter house a threat to the animal that we depend on for survival,” he said.
He warned the government not to use the excuse of job opportunities for youths by reopening the slaughterhouses.
He urged the government to employ youths to plant trees for job opportunities.
Samal Etubon, Katilu ward MCA and Majority Chief Whip deplored that the number of donkeys is dwindling in Turkana because of the illegal slaughter of donkeys.
He said they have a bill of animal health bill in the assembly and once passed it will address the illegal slaughter of donkeys.
The donkey population in Turkana has dropped from 800,000 to 400,000, this is according to a report by the Association of Donkey Owners in Kenya (Adok).
The report shows that Turkana County accounts for 30 per cent of the country’s donkey population and the number has been declining since 2016.
In August 2021, the government banned the slaughter of donkeys and shut down all donkey abattoirs in an effort to save the animals from extinction.
The move came after the High Court overturned a donkey slaughter ban that had been in effect since February 2020 which allowed the slaughter and sale of donkey meat as well as hides to Asian markets and beyond.
The government, however, argued that the commercialisation of donkey slaughter would deplete the donkey population as well as have a direct impact on those whose lifestyles depended on the animal for the transportation of goods.