DONKEY TRADE

State should stick to donkey abattoir ban

The 2009 census identified 1.8 million donkeys in Keny

In Summary

• Around 400,000 donkeys are slaughtered every year in Kenya to supply ingredients for the Chinese trade in animal medicine

• Farmers complain that their donkeys are being stolen and then sold for Sh15,000 to the abattoirs

Water vendors protest outside a donkey slaughterhouse in Naivasha over an increase in donkey theft
Water vendors protest outside a donkey slaughterhouse in Naivasha over an increase in donkey theft
Image: GEORGE MURAGE

On February 24, Agriculture CS Peter Munya gave one month's notice to the four donkey slaughterhouses in Kenya to close down (See P30).   

Up to 400,000 donkeys are slaughtered in Kenya every year to supply China with ingredients for skin whitening cream and medicine.

The 2009 census identified 1.8 million donkeys in Kenya and the government fears that this valuable agricultural beast of burden could be wiped out. China has already consumed most of its own donkeys so it has to buy them from abroad.

 

Farmers complain that cartels steal their donkeys which are then sold for around Sh15,000 to the abattoirs which are largely owned by Chinese investors.

Abattoir workers are protesting that they will lose their jobs. However donkeys provide 'green transport' and their manure helps fertilise shambas of small farmers. The short-term cash gain of selling a donkey to an abattoir is far less than the long-term loss of agricultural productivity.

The government should not back down on its ban on donkey abattoirs even if a few MPs and workers complain. The state should heed the thousands of farmers who want the donkey abattoirs closed.

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