|Naivasha district veterinary officer Dr Enos Amuyunzu (L) is shown some of the waste disposal areas of the new Naivasha donkey slaughterhouse that will open its doors in two months by its proprietor John Kariuki at Maraigushu in Naivasha. [PHOTO: ANTONY GITONGA/STANDARD]|
By ANTONY GITONGA
NAIVASHA, KENYA: For years, water vendors in Naivasha have been left counting losses running into thousands of shillings due to the slaughter of their donkeys.
Donkey carcasses littered by roadside and bushes have become the normal in the lakeside town for months.
However this will become a thing of the past as a multi-million donkey slaughterhouse is under construction in Maraigushu village in Naivasha.
This will become the first ever slaughterhouse targeting the donkeys not only in Kenya but in Africa.
And there is a ready demand for the meat in China which of late has become a major business partner for Kenya.
This emerged during a tour of the ultra-modern slaughterhouse by government officers and Chinese investors.
According to the proprietor John Ngonjo Kariuki, the slaughterhouse which would cost over Sh15m would be ready in the first week of March 2014.
Kariuki said that on completion he expected to employ over thirty workers adding that tens of others would benefit indirectly.
“I have been to China where there is a high demand and market for donkey meat and this slaughterhouse will take care of that,” he said.
The trader said that he had embarked on the process of acquiring the legal papers and certification from the government.
“The slaughter of donkeys has been legalized by the government for some years only that some unscrupulous traders have decided to use the bushes,” he said.
According to him there were over two million donkeys in the country adding that he would source them from Pokot, Turkana and even Naivasha.
On his part, Naivasha sub county veterinary officer Dr Enos Amuyunzu said that the government had legalized the sale of donkey meat in 1999.
Amuyunzu said that this would be the first ever donkey slaughterhouse in the country adding that they were on an inspection mission.
“The government has legalized the sale of donkey meat only that we did not have a legalized slaughterhouse in the country,” he said.
The move was met with mixed reaction by water vendors in Naivasha who said that the move could act as a double edged sword.
According to Jose Wa Funda, the move would see the illegal slaughter of donkeys in Naivasha and other towns come to an end.
“We also fear that the same people who have been slaughtering our donkeys could turn to stealing them as there is a ready market,” he said.
For months water vendors in Naivasha have complained over an increase in the number of donkeys slaughtered in the area a move that has adversely affected their trade.