APPEAL

Animal welfare activists to challenge court ruling on donkey

Last week a Naivasha court lifted the ban imposed last year

In Summary
  • The global demand for donkey skins and meat is mostly driven by Chinese markets
  • In February 2020, Munya had directed the management of four abattoirs to stop operations
Residents watch unbelievably when they found three donkeys slaughtered at night at Karanjee, Limuru
THEFT: Residents watch unbelievably when they found three donkeys slaughtered at night at Karanjee, Limuru
Image: FILE

Regional animal welfare organization, Brooke East Africa has vowed to support the donkey owning communities and farmers in challenging the High Court ruling that lifted the ban on slaughtering of donkeys.

The firm’s regional director Raphael Kinoti said the ruling has a huge socio-economic impact on our rural donkey owners and farmers who rely on these animals as their main source of livelihood.

 “These Communities have reached out to us and other welfare organizations, expressing their disappointment and anger because now the risk and threat of losing their livelihood is too real,’’ Kinoti said.

Last week a High Court in Naivasha lifted the ban imposed last year by Agriculture CS Peter Munya.

In February 2020, Munya had directed the management of four abattoirs to stop operations following concern that donkeys’ numbers were on the decline.

The affected slaughterhouses were Star Brilliant (Naivasha), Goldox Kenya Limited (Mogotio), Silzha (Turkana) and Fulhai (Machakos).

The same year Star Brilliant management moved to court seeking judicial review on the legal notice.

Under a certificate of urgency, Star Brilliant noted that they had already received a notice from the government to stop operations despite investing millions into their venture.

In his ruling, Justice Richard Mwongo noted that the Attorney General and the Cabinet Secretary had failed to file a response to the application challenging the legal notice.

In his ruling, Justice Mwongo noted that legal notice violated the rights of Star Brilliant that has been operating for over five years.

“The government has failed to sufficiently defend this case and this court quashes the Legal Notice 63 of 2020 as it violates the rights of Star Brilliant,” he said in his ruling.

The judge further noted that the state through the office of the AG had failed to respond to issues raised by the applicant on all the occasions. 

Through their legal team Wairegi Kiarie, Star Brilliant abettor pointed out that they slaughter and export donkey and the legal notice resulted in the cancellation of their export license by the government.

Wairegi also told the court CS and the AG had failed to respond to the application despite being served by the applicant.

According to research, the global demand for donkey skins and meat is mostly driven by Chinese markets. In China, donkey meat and skins are used to produce anti-ageing products and traditional medicine known as ejiao. 

Research has shown that traditional medicine consists of gelatin that is extracted from boiled donkey hides. It’s claimed to strengthen the blood and generally boost health and vitality.

 Ejiao has a long tradition in traditional Chinese medicine but previously only the elite in society could afford it. Over the past 30 years, a much larger section of the Chinese population has been able to afford it, driving demand.

Local markets in China cannot keep up, so Chinese businesses turned to other sources. Kenya was a good source of donkeys – it had about 1.8 million in 2010. And under the law, they are considered food animals like pigs and cows

To meet the demand, four export slaughterhouses were licensed and started operating in 2016.