Utunzi Animal Welfare Organization

The Rise of Donkey Meat and Illegal Slaughter in Kenya: A Threat to Donkey Welfare.

Ekuam Josphat, Stephen Odhiambo Ouma: Utunzi animal welfare organization

Kenya, known for its diverse wildlife and natural beauty, is facing a growing concern. According to a report by BBC News, about 1,000 donkeys are slaughtered on a daily basis in Kenya abattoirs. This has led to the rise of donkey meat consumption and illegal slaughter. This trend poses significant threats to the welfare of donkeys across the country.

In recent years, there has been an alarming increase in the demand for donkey meat in Kenya. The Brooke EA report suggested China involvement in the donkey skin trade led to increased illegal donkey trade. The police force has also managed to nab motor vehicles transporting donkey meat to the cities and carcasses in the bushes. This clearly indicates that the demand for meat has been on the rise and the people have been consuming the meat. This is unhygienic and a threat to public health. As a result, illegal slaughter operations have proliferated, posing serious risks to the welfare of donkeys and the sustainability of their populations.

Illegal slaughter practices often involve cruelty and inhumane treatment of donkeys. These animals may be subjected to long-distance transportation in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, deprived of food and water, and subjected to brutal handling before being slaughtered. Such practices not only cause immense suffering to individual animals but also undermine the welfare of entire donkey communities. Today the welfare problems that the donkeys face include inadequate food and water, disease incidences and injuries, harsh environmental conditions and poor managements (Timirat et al., 2019)

The welfare implications of the rise in donkey meat consumption and illegal slaughter in Kenya are profound. Donkeys are sentient beings with complex emotional and social needs. They play crucial roles in various sectors of society, including agriculture, transportation, and tourism. The great majority of donkeys in the world are kept specifically for work. Their most common role is for transport, whether riding, pack transport or pulling carts. They may also be used for farm tillage. (Ahmed et al., 2023). The indiscriminate slaughter of donkeys not only jeopardizes their welfare but also threatens the livelihoods of communities that rely on them for their daily activities. Many people in rural areas use donkeys for their domestic chores, including fetching water and firewood, raising fears that their dwindling numbers will increase the workload of women. Others claims that if the slaughter continues, the donkey population will be at risk and this will affect them since most of them earn their living through the aid of the donkeys. (Atieno et al., 2021)

Efforts to address this issue require concerted action from multiple stakeholders, including government authorities, law enforcement agencies, animal welfare organizations, and local communities. Stronger legislation and enforcement measures are needed to combat illegal slaughter and trafficking of donkeys. Public awareness campaigns can help educate consumers about the ethical and welfare implications of consuming donkey meat.
Furthermore, the need to educate the communities on the role donkeys play in our lives should be propelled to the communities. The multifaceted police force should also be involved in curbing the illegal bush slaughter and the perpetrators of the illegal business be brought to the books of law.
In conclusion, the rise of donkey meat consumption and illegal slaughter in Kenya poses a significant threat to donkey welfare. It is imperative that proactive measures are taken to address this issue and ensure the protection and well-being of these iconic animals.
1.Grace Atieno, Ngetich Wyckliff, Wahome Margaret Wambui, Chepkirui Evalyne Bett. (2021). An Insight on the Welfare of Working Donkeys in Njoro Community, Nakuru. Open Access Journal of Biogeneric Science and Research. DOI: 10.46718/JBGSR.2021.07.000171
2.Herago Tamirat, Mulisa Megersa Kebeta, Ayalew Niguse Alemu, Teka Fegera (2015) Assessment on working donkey welfare issues in Wolaita SoddoZuria District, Southern Ethiopia. Global Veterinarian 14(6): 867-875.
3.  Kenya bans commercial slaughter of donkeys – BBC News The Donkey Sanctuary. (2022). Donkey Slaughter and Welfare.
4.Kenya Society for the Protection and Care of Animals (KSPCA). (2020). The Welfare of Working Donkeys in Kenya: Challenges and Opportunities.
5.Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, and Cooperatives. (2019). Livestock Policy Framework for Kenya.
6.World Animal Protection. (2021). The Global Trade in Donkey Skins.
7.Zakariye Abdifatah Ahmed, Moktar Omar Sheikh Mohamed, Ahmed Abdi Mohamed, Jeilani Busuri Mio (2023). Factors influencing the performance of donkey welfare a case study in benadir region, Somalia. International Journal of Avian & Wildlife Biology. 7(2)

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