Kitui donkey owners demand closure of donkey abbattoir

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Mwingi, Wednesday May 23, 2018

Donkey stakeholders are piling pressure on the government to close Kithyoko donkey abbattoir along the Mwingi-Garissa Highway.

In a renewed push, the beast of burden activists are collecting signatures from donkey owners and the public in a petition to be presented to both national and county governments to protect the endangered donkey species.

The stakeholders drawn from Kitui, Machakos, Makueni, Tharaka Nithi, Embu and Meru Counties lamented that the mushrooming donkey abbattoirs are fueling donkey theft and illegal skinning to meet the appetite for the thriving Chinese black market for its hides.

Similarly, the donkeys owners called on relevant government agencies to deregister the proposed donkey abbattoir in Kithyoko, Masinga Sub-County.

“The establishment of such abbattoirs will hurt thriving rural economies,” says Samuel Mulonzya, Chair Mwingi Donkey Owners.

‘The demand for donkey skins in Chinese market is fueling theft and cross border smuggling, presenting a threat to local farmers,’ says Mulonzya.

The animal rights activist decried that illegal donkey skinning and slaughter is on the rise countrywide following a lucrative Chinese black market for donkey skins.

Speaking to Kenya News Agency on Wednesday in Mwingi Town, Mulonzya decried that the demand has led to widespread theft in various homesteads.

The government through the Meat Control (Amendment) Act 2012 legalised donkey along with horse meat as a food animal.
Veronica Nthenya, Brooke East Africa Finance Consultant, said that between Jan-March 2018 over 3, 300 theft cases were reported and 400 donkey carcases reported countrywide.

‘The three operational donkey abbattoirs in Kenya slaughter 700 donkeys daily against an estimated population of 1.8 million according to the 2009 national population census, ‘ said Nthenya.

She said that the demand of donkey hides in Chinese black market is a threat to local farmers due to rampant cross county smuggling of donkeys.
Nthenya disclosed that the absence of organised breeding programmes will in six to ten years wipe out the country’s donkey population.

On donkey skinning, Florence Ndeti, Caritas Kitui Director called for multi-prong agency support incorporating the police to reign on rogue donkey brokers, traders and criminals engaged in the vice.

‘The main aim of the trade is to get the donkey skin whose demand has quadrupled in the Chinese market,’ said Ndeti.
The Caritas Director noted that illegal skinning of donkeys in Kitui County is depriving off the community their livelihoods, as most women rely on the donkey for transportation of water to their homes.

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