If the current rate at which donkey slaughterhouses are springing up and demand for donkey meat in Kenya continue, the country may not have a single donkey in four years.
In developed countries, a donkey (also referred to as ass) is a domesticated animal – like a horse – and kept as pets. A male donkey or ass is called a jack, a female a jenny or jennet; a young donkey is a foal.
Interestingly, donkeys can also breed with zebras in which the offspring is called a zonkey. But it appears these wonderful animals would soon go into extinction in Kenya if its slaughter rate is not checked.
According to a recent report by the Africa Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW), the rise of slaughterhouses in Kenya threatens to wipe out the animal.
In many parts of Africa, donkeys have become a cheaper substitute for beef and this has seen its demand increase drastically. It is also sold to many unsuspecting customers in place of beef, as the meat from both animals looks almost the same.
The study carried out by the Africa Network for Animal Welfare traces the problem to the classification of donkeys and horses as food animals seven years ago.
The reports claim that the legalization of donkey and horses as meat led to the establishment of more donkey slaughterhouses to satisfy the increasing demand from the local and international markets.
As at today, there are four major donkey abattoirs in Kenya namely Goldox Kenya Limited in Mogotio, Baringo County, Star Brilliant Abattoir at Maraigushu in Naivasha, Silzha Ltd at Nakwaalele in Turkana, and Fuhai Machakos Trading Company Ltd.
Animal warfare interest groups have continued to push for the withdrawal of the abattoirs’ licenses until stringent measures are put in place to guarantee the welfare of the animals which are at risk of extinction.
They believe that the trade of donkey meat and skin should be halted until adequate regulations are put in place to ensure the protection of the species.
The report was compiled by Mr. Josiah Ojwang, Dr. Dennis Bahati and Mr. Sebastian Mwanza from Africa Network for Animal Welfare; and Mr. Bernard Atsiaya of Kenya Society for the Protection and Care of Animals.
“Most donkeys in Moyale come from Ethiopia through unofficial border entry points,” says the report.
They also want a crackdown on cross-border smuggling of donkeys. Brooke East Africa CEO Fred Ochieng’ said communities should work together to fight for the survival of donkeys.
Header Image Credit: Horsetalk.co.nz