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Experts warn Kenyans over donkey meat

By Patrick Beja | May 28th 2015

MOMBASA: Livestock experts and MPs have opposed proposals to legalise sale and consumption of donkey meat.

They warned that wanton killing of donkeys for meat could wipe out the beasts of burden.

Director of Livestock Production Julius Kiptarus told members of the parliamentary departmental committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries that Kenya has only 600,000 donkeys which are only enough for transport.

He said the animals could be depleted if used for meat.

The committee has been discussing several agricultural sector policies in Mombasa.

“The country has only 600,000 donkeys and there is danger of wiping them out if they use them for meat before raising their numbers,” Kiptarus said.

He advised investors to first start donkey rearing farms before opening slaughterhouses.

Senior Deputy Director for Veterinary Services, Dr Obadiah Njagi, said policy on diet is usually informed by culture and socialisation of communities and that is why donkey meat has not been common in Kenya.

“As professionals we have no knowledge of donkey meat being harmful to humans,” he said.

But Mt Elgon MP John Serut called for immediate ban of consumption of donkey meat, saying it was illegal as there is no national policy allowing this.

He criticised Nakuru County Government for allowing an investor in Naivasha to establish a slaughterhouse for donkeys.

“I am telling the national government to move with speed and close down the donkey slaughterhouse,” Serut warned.

Make a choice

But the committee Chairman Adan Mohamed said he had no problem with the donkey meat business.

“It’s up to Kenyans to choose whether they want donkey meat or not. However I urge that butchers should clearly label the meat they are selling so that Kenyans can make a choice,” he said.

The debate followed questions by Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali, who asked why the Government had allowed commercial donkey meat production without a national policy.

Nyali MP Awiti Bollo, however, told Kenyans to seize the opportunity and start donkey farms as there is potential in the business.

Mwea MP Peter Njuguna Gitau warned that turning to donkey meat would lead to theft of the animals and undermine rural transportation.

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