Owners of donkey slaughterhouses have vowed to move to court to challenge a directive banning donkey meat trade.
Monday's directive by Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya has attracted mixed reactions.
While animal rights activists and some farmers have welcomed the ban, owners of donkey slaughterhouses say it will cost them billions of shillings and lead to loss of jobs.
The slaughterhouse owners termed the directive as witch-hunt by some Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs).
“We have some NGOs who have been inciting people to fight us instead of seeking ways of backing tens of donkey farmers who have immensely benefited from this trade,” said John Kariuki, who runs Star Brilliant Donkey slaughterhouse in Naivasha.
A number of NGOs, including Brooke East Africa, Africa Network for Animal Welfare, Farming Systems Kenya, Donkey Sanctuary and a number of farmers’ networks have however welcomed Munya's directive.
“The declaration of the ban is a bold move in protecting the livelihoods of donkey-owning communities,” said Fred Ochieng’, Brooke East Africa CEO.
Josphat Ngonyo of Africa Network for Animal Welfare said the ministry should have laws enacted to protect donkeys and communities that depend on them.
“The current remaining stock of donkeys is way too low,” he said.
Farming Systems Kenya director, Raphael Kinoti, called on counties to enforce the ban.
“Farmers had petitioned counties to close donkey abattoirs. We will now work with them to ensure that these abattoirs stop slaughtering donkeys,” said Dr Kinoti.
The ban comes as the advocacy groups partner with Kenyatta University and the Kenya Agricultural Livestock and Research Organization to explore ways of boosting donkey population through breeding research.
According to the Donkey Sanctuary, an international animal welfare and rescue charity, global donkey population is under pressure from high demand, especially in China where the animal's numbers have plummeted.
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