Kenyan Officials Declare Ban on Donkey Slaughter

The Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture announced that it will be revoking licenses to slaughter donkeys, effective immediately.
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Kenyan Officials Declare Ban on Donkey Slaughter
The Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture has declared a ban on donkey slaughter throughout the country, effective without further notice. | Photo: Courtesy Dr. Amy McLean
Faced with mounting public pressure, the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture has declared a ban on donkey slaughter throughout the country, effective without further notice.

In the wake of international press coverage and local protests concerning the exportation of donkey skins from developing countries to China, Kenyan officials stated the “licenses to slaughter donkeys are … revoked immediately.” The Ministry announced the ban on Feb. 24, the same day the Association of Donkey Owners in Kenya led a protest march in Nairobi. The four donkey slaughterhouses in Kenya have 28 days to “transform their slaughterhouses” for processing strictly cows, sheep, and chickens, ministry officials said in a statement.

Welfare is not listed as a reason for the ban. The Ministry of Agriculture’s cabinet secretary, Peter Munya, cited primarily economic reasons for the new decree. His response to the protesters is posted on the Ministry’s website: “Slaughter of donkeys and trade in related donkey products has promoted vices like stealing of donkeys, (and the) wanton and unmitigated slaughter of donkeys, which ha led to drastic reduction in the donkey population. This has, consequently, impacted negatively on the economic welfare and the livelihoods of the families of those who rely on donkeys for transport and as a means of facilitating trade.”

Lacking the supply needed to meet demand for its production of a traditional medicine called ejiao, Chinese manufacturers have been importing donkey hides from across the globe, said Faith Burden, PhD, director of research and operational support at The Donkey Sanctuary, in the U.K. Currently, the industry requires nearly 5 million donkey hides a year, the primary ingredient for ejiao, which is purported to treat circulatory conditions, improve energy, and slow signs of aging

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Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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