Recently, the Kenyan government through the amendment of the Meat Control Act gave a leeway to the slaughter and consumption of donkey meat. The meat, which is meant for export to mainly asian countries where donkey meat (among other weird things) is a delicacy often finds itself in the local market. The slaughterhouse is owned by a Chinese businessman Lu Donglin and it receives about 300 donkeys for slaughter everyday. This meat is exported to China although like I said, the meat somehow finds itself in the local butcheries.
The demand for donkeys has suddenly risen in Kenya. Other neighbouring countries are also not left behind and are transporting these donkeys for hundreds of kilometers to the said abattoir. Are there any implications with this sudden rise in demand?
Donkeys,for a long time have been domesticated as draught animals, not for milk or meat, but to help carry loads over long distances. In esssence, donkey breeding is unheard of, and people only breed when the donkey they have is getting old or incompetent. Furthermore, the breeding is natural. The available donkey resources in the country cannot meet the demands of the abattoir and that is the reason why donkey theft is on the rise.
Apart from that, donkey skin is a multi million dollar industry and the leeway to slaughter them has really infringed on their welfare. This is so because unscrupulous businessmen are slaughtering donkeys and skinning them. The process of slaughtering should be a humane procedure to prevent unnecessary suffering. Numerous cases of donkeys being slaughtered for their skin have been reported in the country with the most recent one being in Limuru where 35 donkeys were slaughtered and skinned and the carcasses abandoned in the forest.
Donkey meat is a delicacy in many countries since its a cheaper substitute for horse meat, however, measures need to be put in place to stop unscrupulous slaughtering and trade in hides.