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Donkey meat does not kill, permit its trade

By Chris Acwenda | October 3rd 2012

By Chris Acwenda

In the recent past, several myths have surrounded the supply and consumption of red meat following the discovery of donkey carcasses in Naivasha.

A fortnight ago, 40 Donkeys were reported to have been slaughtered and the meat transported to unknown destination for sale.

The reports were followed by wide condemnation with many calling on authorities to ban transportation of meat from the town. However this is not the first time such incidents have occurred. In 90’s cases of donkeys being slaughtered and sold were in the spotlight.

Nairobi residents have been suspected to be the consumers of the final product. Even with the existence of all these slaughter houses, Burma and Dagoretti markets, still the donkey meat finds its way in thus its’ demand has been escalating at the dawn of each day.

With  a special Committee formed and in place to investigate on donkey slaughtering saga, the meat is still reported to be on sale to unsuspecting consumers visiting entertainment joints or in residential estates.

An attitude problem

Personally, I don’t understand despite all this outcry about donkey slaughtering. To date no single life has been reported to have been lost as a result of eating donkey meat in all these major towns of our country. Nobody has ever succumbed or even been rushed to a health center for eating the meat.

A donkey being an herbivorous mostly feeds on grass. Despite the nature of its work, I regard it as normal meat equated to goat, cow and even sheep. I think it is just an attitude.

In the western region of the country, bulls are used the same way the donkeys are used and finally they are slaughtered for meat. In the same way donkeys are beasts of burden, so there shouldn’t be a big deal if they can be converted to meat.

Elephants, Hippos, and Rhinos have been made meat whenever they succumb within human vicinity. Even though some animals do not feature extensively in the human food chain, food nutritionists have not overruled eating the donkey.

The Chinese have been associated with eating weird delicacies but this has not Impeded them from being one of the most developed continent being a threat to even superpower countries like USA.

Their Mortality rate is considerably low compared to us Kenyans who are too cautious about red meat, coincidentally Maasais have a lot of red meat in their diet and taken as a staple food, never will anyone hear any of them having gout or meat related diseases.

Embarace donkey farming

Donkey farming should be fully embraced and its meat allowed in the market to compete effectively. If there is a licensed camel butchery in Nairobi’s East Leigh, then its high time the Government allows donkey meat to be sold.

Finance Minister Njeru Githae once said that as Africans over reliance on some foods should stop and time was nigh for us to embrace other alternative meals such as rats. I second his argument. Whether we shout ourselves hoarse and demonstrate against donkey slaughtering on the streets, it is here to stay.

I urge all stakeholders and all those donkey farmers to throw the spanner in the works and devise ways of solving this squabble. They should make those doing the business undercover come out and start do it legally as they pay the required taxes. When all said and done, it is evident the demand and supply are almost at a point of equilibrium.

Chris Acwenda is a Kenyan residing in Ruaraka, Nairobi.

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